Anchorage Fire Department and Alaska Division of Forestry join forces to build fire break in Eagle River

The Anchorage Fire Department (AFD) is teaming up with the Alaska Division of Forestry (DOF) to help the residents of an at-risk subdivision prepare for a wildfire by constructing a shaded fuel break. The Eagle River subdivision is located on Denaina Drive and Kulchay Circle. A wildfire in this area could quickly spread in the Eagle River Valley and threaten hundreds of homes. A strategy to improve the chances of this neighborhood surviving a wildfire, like the one that started last May near the Briggs Bridge from an unattended campfire, is the construction of a shaded fuel break. The Pioneer Peak Interagency Hotshot Crew will construct a 200-foot wide, shaded fuel break below the subdivision during the next two weeks. Alaska State Parks and Eklutna Inc. have issued permits for the fuel break project construction.

Two decades ago, the spruce bark beetle attacked numerous trees in the stand of spruce along Eagle River, causing heavy mortality in the larger white spruce trees. Many of those dead trees have fallen to the ground to become additional fuel for an advancing wildfire. The Pioneer Peak Hot Shots are thinning live spruce trees and cutting up dead, beetle-killed spruce (standing and on the ground) to reduce the amount of fuel available to a wildfire. A shaded fuel break will give firefighters a better chance to stop a fire before it reaches the homes. An additional benefit will be the crew’s location within the Eagle River area for possible initial attack on fires.

Despite significant snowfall over the winter, the dry conditions over the past few weeks have abruptly transitioned vegetation to a very hazardous state. As a reminder to homeowners, it’s time to remove the firewood from your deck and rake dry grass and leaves from last fall away from your home. Please use the South Anchorage Wood Lot located at 100th & C Street to dump woody debris (open daily except Tuesdays & Wednesdays) and the Hiland Road Landfill Wood Lot, scheduled to open on Friday, May, 26th (open Fridays and Saturdays). Leaves and dry grass should be bagged and put out for curbside garbage pickup. Preparedness is the key to saving lives and property in any emergency, including wildland fires.

Residents of the Municipality of Anchorage who are interested in having a recreational fire in their back yards should call the burn hot line (907) 267-5020 for information on safe burning conditions. The hotline is updated daily by 9:00 am.

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/ Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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