State lifts campfire bans in some areas, most restrictions still in effect in Southcentral and Interior
The Department of Natural Resources announced Sunday that the Alaska Division of Forestry will be ending campfire closures in some areas due to cooler, wetter conditions.
Effective July 14 at noon, campfire restrictions are being lifted on state, private and municipal lands in the Denali Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough and Tanana Valley including Delta, Nenana, Northway, Tanacross, Tok and surrounding communities.
The Division of Forestry and Division of Parks & Recreation have issued a joint order banning campfires in Southcentral and the Interior, according to a press release from the Department of Natural Resources.
DNR says the bans are due to extremely high fire danger across the state. The department also cited limited resources available to respond to new fires.
"All campfires in the region, even those in established fire pits or rings in designated state campgrounds, are prohibited until further notice," the department wrote. "This includes cooking, warming or signaling fires."
Campfires on state, private and municipal lands have been restricted in the following regions:
• Copper River Valley, including Glennallen south to Valdez
• Denali Borough
• Fairbanks North Star Borough
• Kenai Peninsula Borough
• Matanuska-Susitna Borough
• Municipality of Anchorage
• Tanana Valley, including Delta, Nenana, Northway, Tanacross, Tok and surrounding communities
“Conditions are almost perfect for the smallest spark to quickly become a large, dangerous wildfire,” said Chris Maisch, the director of the Division of Forestry. “There are hundreds of people putting their lives on the line dealing with the fires we have, and we simply can’t risk creating more.”
DNR says the restriction does not apply to charcoal or gas grills. Backpacking or camp stoves using fuel or compressed canisters are still allowed.
Burn suspensions for open debris burning and the use of burn barrels are still in effect.
DNR says as of Tuesday there are 117 active wildfires in Alaska and 24 are staffed with more than 2,000 firefighting personnel. Many of the crews assisting are from the Lower 48. The department says there have been 392 wildfires that have burned more than 1 million acres this season.
"Given the number and size of wildfires currently burning in the state, Alaska’s fire managers ask residents and visitors to adhere to the restriction on campfires to help prevent any additional human-caused wildfires in the state," the department wrote.
The department says anyone who may be affected by the burn restriction can send an appeal to Department of Natural Resource Commissioner Corri Feige.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.