• 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

  • News

    Diversity a theme at Walker transition conference in Anchorage

    by Shannon Ballard on Nov 22, 18:42

    It would be easy to have a closed-door discussion about the critical issues that face Alaska, but Gov.-elect Bill Walker says the conversation should belong to all Alaskans. “We get the best input the more people we have involved in the process,” said Walker. There is some risk associated with doing that. The bigger risk […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Nov. 22

    by KTVA Weather on Nov 22, 18:20

    Clouds have invaded our space for the weekend with little moisture here in the Anchorage area. Daytime highs remain in the mid 30s with light winds as we head into Saturday night. Sunday brings more of the same conditions with increasing clouds across the Bowl. We’ll remain under this dry spell going into Thanksgiving. Sunshine […]

  • Sports

    UAA volleyball signs 2 Dimond players

    by KTVA Sports on Nov 22, 18:02

    A pair of Dimond Lynx are heading to the level of volleyball, but the trip is a short one.

  • News

    Government Hill gives back, continues holiday tradition for one resident

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 22, 17:02

      Putting up Christmas lights and decorations is a holiday tradition for Government Hill resident Jeff Fowler. “It started when we lived on the south end of town,” said Fowler. “One at a time, started buying them and when we moved here, new and more stuff just started showing up.“ Over the years, the grand […]

  • News

    Obama highlights Sitka School District’s efforts in technology

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 22, 13:00

    This week, the Sitka School District got a shout-out from President Barack Obama. Superintendent of Sitka Schools Mary Wegner was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, joining more than 100 superintendents from across the country gathered together at the White House for the ConnectED to the Future conference. The day-long event recognized some of the nation’s […]

  • News

    Fairbanks prisoner accused of soliciting murder

    by Associated Press on Nov 22, 12:01

    An imprisoned former chiropractor and gun dealer from Fairbanks has been accused of attempting to solicit the murder of federal officers while behind bars. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://goo.gl/VVMn92 ) reports Guy Christopher Mannino, 56, has been in prison since Oct. 2013 awaiting sentencing for federal weapons charges. The office of the U.S. Attorney says […]

  • News

    Alaska Gov.-elect Walker names full transition team

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 22, 11:47

    Gov.-elect Bill Walker has taken his first big step towards taking over the helm of outgoing Gov. Sean Parnell. Walker kicked off his transition conference Friday night at the Alaska Airlines Center. There, about 300 people showed up to hear the incoming administration’s overview of Alaska’s current financial situation. Walker was blunt in his address, saying […]

  • News

    5,000 toys to be delivered to tots around Alaska

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 22, 11:06

    Alaska Airlines and the U.S. Marines are getting into the holiday spirit and children around Alaska are reaping the benefits. Friday, Marines delivered nearly 5,000 toys to the airline’s cargo hanger to be shipped out to children across the state. As part of their annual Toys for Tots program, all of the gifts were donated […]