High fire danger status issued over Chugach National Forest
There is a high fire danger status over most of the Chugach National Forest. This fire season, officials are warning visitors to be responsible when having campfires in the area.
"While rain in the forecast can sometimes lower the fire danger, it is fire season and everyone plays a role in preventing human-caused fires," a release from the U.S. Forest Service said Friday.
A majority of all wildland fires that occur in the Chugach National Forest are caused by humans, according to the release. When campfires are left unattended, they have the potential to start a wildfire, which USFS says threatens public safety and firefighters.
"When building a campfire it's important to find a safe location that helps prevent fire spread," the release states. "The area should be clear of burnable fuels such as overhanging branches, dry grass, leaves, sticks, and logs."
USFS says campfires should always be built in an established fire pit or within a rock ring. They say it's also important to build them in a place that's protected from certain weather elements, like wind gusts.
"A bucket of water and a shovel should be close by in order to aid in extinguishing fires," the release states. "Extra wood and burnable items should be kept away from the fire. Extinguish all campfires completely before leaving the area - fires should never be left unattended."
USFS says these guidelines should be used to extinguish campfires:
• Allow the campfire to completely burn to ash, if possible
• Drown all embers, using lots of water, until the fire no longer hisses
• Stir the ash and water with a shovel, stick, or other tool
• Scrape any remaining logs to remove possible embers
• Make sure everything is cold to the touch
• If water is not available, mix sand or wet dirt into the fire pit
• Do not bury the fire - it will continue to smolder and may ignite roots below the surface
For current fire danger levels and fire restrictions, visit the Chugach National Forest website. To report a wildland fire in Alaska, call 1-800-237-3633.
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