Several large wildfires are currently burning in the Mat-Su and on the Kenai Peninsula, but they're also a concern in Anchorage. So much so, that the Anchorage Fire Department will help pay for tree removal to help better protect your home and reduce the risk of a wildfire spreading. 

As part of the Firewise Home Assessment Program, Anchorage residents can apply to have firefighters visit their property. While there, fire officials will identify trees that may be more prone to ignition and recommend removal or pruning. 

"Right now the trees that we're really looking at are spruce bark beetle kill, black spruce, those are the kinds of things that are designed to propagate through fire," said Dein Bruce, a firefighter at station 12. "They're designed to burn."

According to AFD forester John See, that was apparent during the MLK Fire last month, which spread quickly among the flammable wood.

See, who oversees AFD's wildfire mitigation, says anyone within the municipality can apply for assistance with tree removal. He says the municipality will cost-share up to $500 per lot, or $2,000 an acre. 

As part of the free, Firewise home assessment, firefighters will also check surrounding landscaping for fire danger.

"A lot of folks like to put wood mulch or chips next to the home and that could end up in a smoldering fire, that then would ignite the structure," explained Bruce. 

Firefighters can also help identify an access route for emergency vehicles, look for flammable items stacked in and outside of the home, and help create a plan for safe evacuation.

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