People who live in the Stuckagain Heights neighborhood may soon feel a little safer when it comes to being prepared for a wildfire. Alaska Division of Forestry (DOF) crews are clearing out a firebreak that’s 100 feet wide and more than a mile long on the north side of the neighborhood.


DOF spokesman Josh Leutzinger said they are taking out vegetation that could become fuel for a wildfire.


“Anything on the ground that’s going to burn hot and long,” Leutzinger explained. “So big trees, getting rid of the branches. We are removing dead trees that are standing up and we are also removing smaller spruce trees that are going to grow into bigger trees.”


Leutzinger said he considers the work pro-active. It provides firefighters a safe place to stage if a wildfire were threatening the neighborhood.


The work is being done on military property that flanks the neighborhood to the north. Officials from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson agreed the work was necessary and are paying state crews to do it.


The project could take as long as three weeks. Leutzinger said residents might notice some smoke as early as next week when crews begin to burn the debris piles they’re collecting.


KTVA 11’s Lauren Maxwell can be reached via email or on Twitter.