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Dry conditions create potential for wildfires in Mat-Su

By Hope Miller 5:05 PM January 30, 2014

High winds are forecast before another snowfall, which led to a rare winter wildfire advisory from the Alaska Division of Forestry.

ANCHORAGE – Sunny skies, a chance of wind and no precipitation in the forecast is creating wildfire potential in the Mat-Su Valley, according to state officials.

High winds are forecast before another snowfall, which led to a rare winter wildfire advisory from the Alaska Division of Forestry Thursday.

State officials are urging caution to people burning debris, building campfires or doing anything that could start a wildfire, said Norm McDonald, a fire management officer with the state Division of Forestry.

Many Valley residents do open burning in the winter, McDonald said, which isn’t such an issue when there’s a thick layer of snow on the ground.

Although Division of Forestry burn permits aren’t required this time of year, McDonald said, people should follow safe-burning guidelines, such as refraining from burning if it’s windy. If you do burn, he said, have equipment and water handy and monitor fires until they’re out.

The advisory is in effect until the Valley gets some precipitation.

The conditions are similar to 2012 when there was a fire in the Cedar Hills subdivision in Palmer, McDonald said.

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