• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 5s

Warm spring, high fire danger

By Heather Hintze 9:12 PM May 1, 2014

Permitted burns and outdoor campfires are prohibited until further notice

ANCHORAGE –

It’s not hard to find evidence of homeless camps in the woods near Campbell Creek Trail. Firefighters say the biggest problem isn’t their illegal camping, but their illegal campfires that pose the biggest threat this time of year.

“They’ve burned some trash there, there’s a fire pit here,” Battalion Chief Tim Garbe pointed out. “An unattended fire from a homeless camp is what started the Piper Street fire,” he explained.

That fire in 2007 burned nearly 10 acres. Garbe said it was the last large-scale brush fire in Anchorage.

“This is the kind of fire that in the wrong conditions on a high wind day, low humidity, high temperature, extreme fire dangers. These are the kinds of fires that can spread rapidly and could potentially become a conflagration,” he said.

The lack of April showers combined with the warm weather means fire danger is already at an elevated level this early in the spring.

Right now permitted burns are suspended until further notice. Campfires and burn pits are also prohibited unless it’s at a designated campground.

Garbe said the charred trees from the Piper Street fire should remind people to take precautions.

“Once fire gets into these spruce forests like this and it starts burning hot, it will literally torch from tree to tree,” he said.

Fire Station 14 is equipped with extra brush units to combat fires in hard-to-reach areas. The hoses and water pumps are lighter and more portable so they can be taken directly to the fire.

“Being able to move to the fire before it gets out of control is important for us to be able to do that,” explained Capt. Chris Keen. “In order to do that we have to move to where the fire is and not wait for it to come to us.”

Last year the Anchorage Fire Department responded to more than 70 wildfires and grass fires that burned about 12 acres. Firefighters also stayed busy with 250 calls about unauthorized burning.

“I’m with the Anchorage Fire Department,” Garbe shouted to two homeless men at a campsite near the Piper Street site. “You’re going to have to extinguish your fire, there’s no burning allowed right now,” he said.

The two men said they didn’t know about the restrictions and complied, dousing their fire with water. Garbe said it’s fires like that that can escalate quickly and become a bigger problem. He said everyone needs to be proactive so something like the Piper Street fire doesn’t’ happen again.

Latest Stories

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, Sept. 2

    by KTVA Weather on Sep 02, 20:22

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Rain will be likely all across the Kenai and Prince William Sound for Thursday as gulf moisture pushes north into south central. Highs will be in the low to mid 50s. Southeast Expect mostly sunny skies for the panhandle Thursday. Temperatures will be between the upper 50s and low 60s. Interior/North […]

  • News

    President Obama, funding comes to rural Alaska

    by Sierra Starks, Hope Miller on Sep 02, 19:30

    On the same day as his trips to Dillingham and Kotzebue, President Barack Obama announced new funding to enhance energy efficiency in rural Alaska and detailed the Denali Commission’s role in relocation efforts for communities affected by climate change. The funding comes on the heels of Monday’s GLACIER Conference in Anchorage, attended by Obama, Secretary […]

  • News

    Mat-Su ferry to become floating hospital for Philippine Red Cross

    by Shannon Ballard on Sep 02, 19:26

    The Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s failed ferry project may soon be over. After years of dead end offers, the borough has finally found a buyer for the M/V Susitna. If all goes as planned, it will leave Alaska in spring of 2016 with the Philippine Red Cross. The ferry will be used to deliver food and supplies to islands […]

  • News

    Assembly committee debates how pot shops should fit into Anchorage land

    by Liz Raines on Sep 02, 17:11

    The municipality’s Community and Economic Development Committee, known as Title 21, explored regulations on marijuana land use on Tuesday afternoon. The meeting was centered around a draft order, created by Erika McConnell of the Anchorage Planning Division. The document focused on nine main questions: 1. Should there be commercial grows in residential neighborhoods? 2. Should […]

  • News

    FOUND: Missing 12-year-old located

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 02, 16:47

    Update on Sept. 2, 6:58 p.m. The Anchorage Police Department says 12-year-old Jacob Noden has been located. Original Story The Anchorage Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing 12-year-old. Jacob Noden was last seen Tuesday evening in the Lancelot Circle area near Wonder Park Elementary School, police said in a […]

  • News

    70 years ago: Japan surrendered, bringing an end to WWII

    by CBS News on Sep 02, 16:29

    It has been seven decades since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan by the United States killing tens of thousands of people and prompting the end of WWII. And it is exactly 70 years ago Wednesday, on Sept. 2, 1945, that 11 men representing Japan arrived aboard the battleship Missouri to surrender their country. American […]

  • News

    Trooper vehicle stolen with suspect in backseat, dumped in Big Lake

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 02, 16:17

    An Alaska State Trooper vehicle was stolen while a suspect sat in the backseat, troopers confirmed. The vehicle was stolen around 2:45 p.m., according to AST spokeswoman Megan Peters. “We had a suspect detained in the back and another suspect was able to enter the vehicle and drive away,” Peters said. The vehicle was located […]

  • News

    Kotzebue mayor on POTUS visit: ‘I was so excited that my appendix burst’

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 02, 15:14

    On a boat not feeling well, at first Kotzebue Mayor Maija Lukin thought she might have had the flu. It had been going around. Within a few hours, however, Lukin realized it was more serious. The timing couldn’t have been worse. She was flown to Anchorage for medical treatment Friday, just days before President Barack […]