Anchorage homeowners who suspect their trees have been affected by spruce bark beetles can contact the Firewise Home Assessment Program for a free home inspection.

Anchorage Fire Department Captain Jason Dolph said there is no cost for the assessments that show homeowners how to create defensible space, including whether spruce trees need to come down.

Spruce bark beetles are small but can do plenty of damage

“There are some telltale signs that we can come look at and tell you if you have a tree that’s affected or not,” Dolph said. “ If it is, basically that tree is dead on the inside and it’s prime, it’s already ready to burn. So the best thing to do is remove those.”

Beetle killed spruce are all over Anchorage

The program can also provide homeowners with matching funds to help cover the cost of removing dead trees. The maximum reimbursable amount is $2,000 per acre, not exceeding $500 per year, once the work is done.

Spenard homeowner Pete Ranaldi has four trees that have to come down

John See, who oversees wildfire mitigation program in Anchorage said homeowners must get a firewise assessment first in order to be eligible for reimbursement. In addition, all work, including tree removal, must be completed by Oct. 31.  

See said people who are interested can go to the municipality's website to sign up for a wildfire home assessment and learn more about the program.

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