Spring wildland fire activity: Escaped burn barrels and campfires

Since April 1st Alaska has seen six human caused fires. The Alaska Division of Forestry & Fire Protection (DOF) responded to the three over the weekend in the Mat-Su and Homer areas. All of these fires were contained and extinguished by initial attack.

Two fires in the Mat-Su area were contained at 0.1 acres. The first fire was a grass fire along the Parks Highway in Wasilla, and the second Mat-Su fire was started from a residential burn barrel that was creeping into the adjoining backyard. The fire was extinguished, and prevention information was left for the property owner.

The third fire was reported off Eastland Creek in Homer. The fire had burned in grass and driftwood and appeared to be from an escaped campfire. Responding resources contained and controlled the fire at 0.5 acres.

These early fires are a reminder that despite the late snowpack and cooler spring temperatures, fine fuels like dead grass and brush easily ignite once they’ve been exposed and dried in the sun. Burn permits are required for residential burn barrels and small debris burns from April 1- August 31 each year and can be obtained from https://dnr.alaska.gov/burn, picked up from any DOF area office as well as local fire departments. These permits contain helpful resources and information to ensure you are burning safely and with appropriate equipment.

Burn permits are not required for cooking or warming fires that are less than 3’ in diameter and 2’ in height. Remember to select a location free of vegetation with a minimum of 3 feet of clearance completely around the campfire, down to mineral soil, gravel, sand or some other non-combustible material. Never leave your fire unattended and extinguish the fire completely before leaving. Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible, and drown all embers with water until the hissing sound stops. Stir with a hand tool until the fire is completely out and cool to the touch.

To report an Alaska wildland fire, you can call 1-800-237-3633 or 911.

Categories: Alaska DNR - Division of Forestry (DOF), Fire Prevention

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