Although the snowpack is still deep, the Alaska Division of Forestry reminds residents that open burning permits are required by Alaska Statute as of April 1. Permits for small burn piles are available from the Forestry website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/burn/. Site inspections are needed for larger burning operations; on the Kenai Peninsula, call Forestry at 907-260-4200 to set up an appointment.
Forestry officials say its OK to burn in early spring, but encourage residents to get it done before the snow is gone; fire season comes when the dry grass is exposed. For those burning now, Forestry has a few key points to consider:
* The wood in the fire must be dry and free from dirt for efficient burning and to minimize smoke production.
* Attend the fire until it is out. Do not expect burn piles to go out on their own and it is illegal to leave a fire burning.
* Snow pack qualifies as a firebreak, but you must clear the ground around the fire to dirt as the snow melts.
* Call in to the notification phone number listed on your permit before you burn.
* Burning permits are required by the Division of Forestry from April through August and all year long for the cities of Kenai, Homer, and Seward.