BLM issues fire restrictions for federal lands near Steese Highway NOAA Facility

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on May 14 issued a Fire Prevention Order prohibiting campfires, explosives and fireworks on federal lands in a fire-prone area of black spruce off of Gilmore Trail north of Fairbanks and north of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility site on the Steese Highway.

This is the fifth consecutive year the BLM’s Eastern Interior Field Office in Fairbanks has issued the order to ensure public safety and protect nearby property and residences. A small section of public land at the end of Brier Road northeast of Fox is also included in the closure, went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on May 15.

In recent years, firefighters and law enforcement personnel have found numerous unattended bonfires on federal land off of Gilmore Trail, leading to concerns that an escaped fire could threaten local residences, as well as the NOAA facility on Gilmore Creek.

“The BLM has for years worked closely with neighborhood residents to address safety concerns and be a good neighbor,” said Acting Eastern Interior Field Office Manager John Haddix. “Firefighters are needed more than ever to keep Alaska safe, so we are counting on the public to do its part to prevent human-caused fires. This Fire Prevention Order helps in that effort.”

Anyone convicted of violating this order could face a fine of up to $1,000, spend up to a year in jail and be responsible for costs associated with fire suppression and damages. The fire prevention order will end Oct. 31 unless it is rescinded due to weather conditions or other factors.

For more information about this order, including the public lands involved, contact Craig McCaa (907-474-2231; cmccaa@blm.gov) or Tom St. Clair (907-474-2226; tstclair.blm.gov). For information on fire restrictions in Interior Alaska and statewide, contact the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center at 907-356-5511 or visit akfireinfo.com. The BLM website also includes a list of current fire restrictions for BLM-managed public lands in Alaska.

Map included in Fire Prevention Order
Map of federal lands north of Fairbanks that are included in this Fire Prevention Order prohibiting campfires, explosives and fireworks in a fire-prone area of black spruce. Click on this link for PDF version of map.

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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.

About BLM Alaska Fire Service

The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (AFS) located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, provides wildland fire suppression services for over 244 million acres of Department of the Interior and Native Corporation Lands in Alaska. In addition, AFS has other statewide responsibilities that include: interpretation of fire management policy; oversight of the BLM Alaska Aviation program; fuels management projects; and operating and maintaining advanced communication and computer systems such as the Alaska Lightning Detection System. AFS also maintains a National Incident Support Cache with a $10 million inventory. The Alaska Fire Service provides wildland fire suppression services for America’s “Last Frontier” on an interagency basis with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Military in Alaska.

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