• 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

  • Crime

    Brother of murder suspect accused of cleaning up West Anchorage crime scene

    by Daniella Rivera on Jun 30, 21:57

    Three family members are facing charges in a string of crimes that include torturing and killing a woman, then trying to cover up the tracks. Thursday, 28-year-old Connor Stefano appeared in court for his arraignment on charges of tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. His defense attorney Wallace Tetlow told the judge Stefano contacted him the […]

  • News

    Dead humpback whale washes ashore near Hope

    by Melissa Frey on Jun 30, 21:45

    A dead humpback whale was found along the shore of Turnagain Arm near Hope Tuesday night. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) was notified. There was immediately no word on when or how the whale died, but researchers from the Alaska Sea Life Center and NOAA were able to extract numerous samples which are on […]

  • Politics

    Budget veto could stunt Alaska tourism growth

    by Liz Raines on Jun 30, 21:04

    Alaska saw a record breaking number of tourists last summer — 1.7 million visitors statewide, according to a report prepared for the Division of Economic Development. But a dramatic drop in the state’s Tourism Marketing Program could turn the trend. On Wednesday, Gov. Bill Walker announced a $3 million veto to the already scaled-back program, which went […]

  • Crime

    Mother of Point Woronzof murder victim calls on public for answers in daughter’s death

    by Eric Ruble on Jun 30, 20:21

    The last five months have been painful for Rose Mullenax. She is the mother of Selena Mullenax, who was killed alongside 20-year-old Foreignne “Onie” Aubert-Morisette in January at Point Woronzof. No arrests have been made in the case and now, the 19-year-old’s mother has become frustrated with police. “All I know is that they’re working on […]

  • News

    Southcentral Alaska Fourth of July festivities

    by Makayla Clark on Jun 30, 20:03

    ANCHORAGE Fireworks When: July 4, after the Alaska Baseball League doubleheader Location: Mulcahy Stadium Alaska Baseball League doubleheader When: July 4, 7 and 9 p.m. Location: Mulcahy Stadium Two games between the Anchorage Glacier Pilots and the Anchorage Bucs There will be fireworks after the second game July 4 Anchorage events at the Delaney Park Strip 8 a.m. — […]

  • Lifestyle

    Peony passion: Alaska expected to ship out a record number of luxury flowers

    by Shannon Ballard on Jun 30, 19:34

    Whether they’re miles apart or side-by-side, sisters Rachel Christy and Becca Bryan are connected by peonies. Bryan lives in Texas, but for the past five summers she’s come to Alaska to help Christy harvest Alaska Blooms Peony Farm in Wasilla. “My favorite thing to do is, when we first arrive for our summer, Rachel and […]

  • On-Air

    Alaska Fishing Report for June 30, 2016

    by Carlos Faura on Jun 30, 19:23

    Anchorage King fishing is fair on Ship Creek. Lake fishing is ok, the mornings and evenings are best times to go. Bird Creek is closed until July 13. Seward Halibut fishing is good and they’re getting a lot of big fish. Rockfishing is really good. There are not a lot of silvers yet. King salmon […]

  • News

    APD to patrol part of the Seward Highway for the holiday weekend

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jun 30, 19:09

    Alaska State Troopers are getting some extra help patrolling the Seward Highway over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. A federal grant will pay for two to four Anchorage police officers to patrol the section of highway that runs between Potter Marsh and Girdwood. Anchorage Police Department chief Chris Tolley said the goal is to […]