The Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire Protection (DOF) has been taking advantage of favorable conditions to continue burning piles of black spruce slash cut in recent years as part of wildfire mitigation programs for the community of Anderson and the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
DOF’s Fairbanks Area Forestry office has burned over 900 piles, each about 10 feet around and four feet tall, completing their work near Milepost 4 of Goldstream Road in two parcels north of the road: one 16-acre parcel north of Clifden and Molly roads, and a 10-acre parcel south of Ballina Road. Firefighters have extinguished and mopped up the burned piles and will continue to monitor the area to ensure that nothing rekindles.
Last week, Fairbanks Area Forestry firefighters and members of the DOF White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Crew turned their attention to the Cripple Creek/Parks Highway areas and burned nearly 240 piles in two days work. Conditions were best in a 32-acre parcel north of the Parks Highway near Pear Tree Loop, Parks Ridge Road and Spirit Court, where more than 200 piles have been burned. The piles were wetter and not burning as well in a 21-acre parcel south of the Parks Highway and west of Violin Circle, Harp Court and Mandolin Circle. Firefighters will continue their work in these areas as long as favorable conditions continue. Local residents may see smoke from the burning.
Forestry firefighters are also burning piles left over from the construction of shaded fuel breaks around the community of Anderson. The project was started in 2019 and improvements were made to the fuel breaks during this past summer’s Clear Fire that burned over 73,000 acres west of the community and the Nenana River.
“Burning the piles now when conditions are cool and wet will reduce chances of any escapement and minimize adverse impacts from smoke,” DOF Fire Management Officer Gordon Amundson said. “This will create fuel breaks that will enhance public safety and wildland fire response by removing large accumulations of flammable vegetation, primarily black spruce.”
Pile burning will follow Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) guidelines. Signs will be posted in the neighborhoods where burning will occur. DOF is working with ADEC and the National Weather Service to forecast and monitor smoke conditions to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal air quality regulations.
CONTACT: Gordon Amundson, (907) 451-2634, firstname.lastname@example.org