Free woody debris disposal became available yesterday to residents who use the Talkeetna and Willow transfer stations. With the ongoing and now tinder dry conditions across much of Alaska, burn permit suspensions will remain common until wetting rains arrive. Dropping off woody debris reduces human caused wildfires even as residents continue to harden their homes and focus more on making properties #firewise. It matters to so many Alaskans who have been touched deeply by the impacts of wildfire. It truly takes just one human caused mistake to ignite a major wildfire that can have devastating and long lasting impacts.
Just a few months before the devastating 2019 McKinley Fire destroyed over 50 homes along the Parks Highway north of Willow, Victor Snell became Willow and Caswell’s Fire Chief. Willow is known as the official race start of the Iditarod, and the area where the devastating 2015 Sockeye Fire destroyed 55 homes. The community wide “all hands on deck” approach to quickly evacuating hundreds and hundreds of the world’s toughest working sled dogs resulted in an international media spotlight on this relatively quiet area of Alaska. The communities of Willow, Caswell and Talkeetna have experienced a lot of heartache, uncertainty, displacement and smoke impacts over the last seven years as a result of these two fast moving infernos. Chief Snell, Talkeetna’s Fire Chief Eric Chappel, and all of the Fire Chiefs across Alaska care deeply about protecting their communities from human caused wildfires. They care deeply about #Firewise and the safe removal of woody debris from your homes. Chiefs Snell and Chappel agree with their wildfire partners that an important way to reduce human caused fires is to drop off woody debris instead of trying to find the “window” to burn it. With the prolonged hot and dry weather, fire specialists note the same conditions exist now as did in June 2015 when an escaped campfire burned over 7,000 acres in the Sockeye Fire in a very short period over a few days.
The Willow Transfer Station and Sunshine Transfer Site will accept Beetle Kill Brush during designated summer months only. See https://fire-preparedness-msb.hub.arcgis.com/pages/fuel-reduction for more details.
DOF and Fire Chiefs across Alaska recommend using free woody debris programs when and where they become available. #WildfirePrevention