Weekly fire report: 22 human caused fires in Alaska last week

There have been 57 human caused fires in Alaska in 2023 with 22 occurring just in the last week. Most notably was the 310-acre Barley Way Fire in Delta on Saturday, May 20 that led to the first fire jump of the season for the BLM Alaska Fire Service Smokejumpers and response of two Alaska hotshot crews.

Several of the recent fires were caused by escaped debris and lawn burns, which remain to be two of the leading causes of wildland fires in Alaska each year.

The Charland Fire in the Soldotna area was reported on the evening of Sunday, May 21. Three Division of Forestry & Fire Protection (DOF) engines and Central Emergency Services (CES) responded. Once on scene, resources found two 20×20 burning slash piles had escaped into the wildland that was quickly spreading fire. Four additional engines arrived to suppress the flames and a small skid steer loader was hired on from a neighboring landowner to assist in stirring up the piles to achieve containment. The fire was called contained and controlled and all resources were released from the incident.

Later that evening, Trooper dispatch reported another wildland fire in Happy Valley that was caused from an escaped lawn burn. The fire was reported at one acre with three-foot flame lengths and growing in size. Two DOF engines responded and established unified command with CES. Resources put in a hose lay around the fire to contain it between roads and the hose line. The fire was contained at 2.4 acres. Resources remain for mop-up and patrol.  

Flames burn in brush and spruce fuels during the late night suppression operations on the Mocha Fire near Happy Valley. There is smoke filling the area and rising into the night sky.
Flames burn in brush and spruce fuels during the late night suppression operations on the Mocha Fire near Happy Valley. Photo/Kenai-Kodiak DOF

As the weather warms and Alaskan residents work outdoors on their properties, please ensure that you have a valid, small-scale burn permit each time you are burning. You may burn only one debris pile at a time with a diameter 10 feet or less and no more than four feet high. You should have at least 10 feet of ground cleared to mineral soil extending to all sides of the pile until it’s completely out and cold to the touch. If you are lawn burning you may burn one acre or less and are required to maintain an 8 foot wet perimeter around the lawn at all times. Ensure you have sufficient water on hand to immediately extinguish the fire and tools close by when burning. Do not burn within 30’ of structures or power lines and remain with your burn the entire time.

Burn permits can be downloaded from https://dnr.alaska.gov/burn or picked up at local DOF offices as well as from local fire departments. Remember, you are responsible for every fire you start!

Categories: AK Fire Info

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