With fire danger high, will there be fireworks on the Fourth of July?
Anchorage Fire Chief Jodie Hettrick is worried about the high fire danger in Anchorage. So much so, that if the forecast for dry, hot conditions doesn't change, the department may decide to cancel Independence Day fireworks shows in Anchorage and Eagle River.
In a release Thursday evening, the the Department of Public Safety stated multiple agencies have implemented an immediate suspension of the sale and use of fireworks across the state due to fire danger.
“Our firefighting resources and capabilities on the ground and in the air are stretched thin," State Fire Marshal Richard Boothby wrote. "That combined with the weather forecast going into next week, the safety of Alaskans and visitors is paramount. The suspension of the sale and use of fireworks will assist in protecting life and property.”
The Houston Fire Department announced Wednesday it was suspending the sale and use of several types of aerial fireworks due to heightened fire danger in the area. It is in effect until further notice.
In Anchorage, Hettrick said she is monitoring the situation day-by-day, but wanted to remind people that fireworks are illegal within the municipality.
"You can't use them in your backyard, you can't use them in your cul-de-sac. No fireworks are allowed within the municipality because of the fire danger," she said.
Hettrick said fire officials have been in talks with the Anchorage Police Department about enforcing the ban. She is urging the public to report fireworks when they see them.
"We really want people to be hyper-vigilant if that is happening," Hettrick said. "Talk to your neighbor and remind them that we don't want to burn the town down, so please don't do that."
The Division of Forestry says there are currently 102 uncontained fires burning in Alaska and 273,551 acres burned so far. More than 500 staff have been deployed to contain Swan Lake Fire: 163,714 acres, 37% contained on the Kenai Peninsula and over 200 personnel are working to put out the Shovel Creek fire outside of Fairbanks.
Hettrick said a decision on whether the public holiday firework shows will go on will likely be made this weekend.
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