Bans, cancellations and where to see fireworks in Alaska this Independence Day
There are over 100 active fires burning throughout the state of Alaska, according to the Division of Forestry. To help people plan for the holiday, here is a list of show cancellations and where you can still see fireworks for the Fourth of July.
The Alaska State Fire Marshall's office last week suspended the sale and use of fireworks throughout much of the state due to hot, dry weather and "high to very high fire danger." The June 27 release stated the ban will remain in effect until further notice.
State Fire Marshall Richard Boothby said, "[...] 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 following areas include:
• Fairbanks North Star Borough
• Kenai Peninsula Borough
• Matanuska-Susitna Borough
• Kodiak Borough
• Copper River Valley, including Glennallen south to Valdez
• Western Alaska, including McGrath and points west
• Tanana Valley north of the Alaska Range
• Northern Panhandle, including Haines in the north, Skagway, and Juneau to the south
In an updated release on Friday, July 5, the Department of Public Safety, Fire and Life Safety expanded the list to include the Denali Borough.
The City of Wasilla Facebook page posted this photo Friday announcing it had cancelled the city's fireworks show at this time.
Anchorage Fire Chief Jodie Hettrick issued a burn ban for the Municipality of Anchorage effective Friday, June 28. Chief Hettrick went on to say the city needs two straight days of rain for her to allow fireworks shows to take place.
On Tuesday, AFD confirmed fireworks events were canceled due to dry weather conditions in Anchorage, Eagle River and surrounding areas.
The annual Fourth of July Fireworks Show at the Marina's Memorial by the Uplands at midnight on July 3, 2019 will still happen, according to the City of Seward Fire Department.
However, personal firework use is prohibited at this time.
Although personal fireworks have been banned in Juneau, the Annual Gastineau Channel fireworks show will continue as scheduled, per a press release from the City & Borough of Juneau.
"We ask that people in Juneau adhere to the ban on personal use fireworks. In Juneau, we're not used to thinking about outdoor fire safety. Although we live in a rainforest, the threat of wildland fire is a very real danger. We are in the middle of a drought and that changes the dynamics of our rainforest," Capital City Fire Rescue Chief Rich Etheridge said.
Fireworks are prohibited on the Tongass National Forest at all times, regardless of weather or fire conditions. According to a release from the USDA Forest Service, fire officials want to remind visitors that southeast Alaska is still in a drought and wildland fires can start and spread quickly. The use of fireworks makes this even more dangerous.
"Fireworks are banned on national forests at all times, regardless of weather or conditions," the release states. "Fireworks are also prohibited on other public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service."
Acting forest fire management officer Una Pesata said it only takes one small spark to start a wildfire.
"Please be safe and responsible with fire when visiting the Tongass this summer," Pensata said.
The Bureau of Land Management's Glenallen field office issued a fire prevention order Monday temporarily prohibiting open fires, fireworks, exploding targets and explosives on the public lands it manages in east-central Alaska. The order is in effect until fire conditions improve.
Open fires are still permitted in the following areas: Sourdough Creek, Paxson Lake, Tangle Lakes, and Brushkana Creek campgrounds; and the Delta Wild and Scenic River and Clearwater Creek Waysides.
In a Tuesday release from the Department of Public Safety, it was announced that the state has cancelled the fireworks sales and use suspension in Western Alaska.
The communities no longer affected by the ban include:
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