Southcentral Alaska entering fire season

Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Southcentral Alaska is entering prime fire season, officials with the Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday.

The critical period is after the snow melts and before the trees get green, a time when the vegetation is driest.

Land-clearning activities statewide include the burning of debris piles and slash. This is a primary source of human-caused fires, according to the BLM.

A fire in Eklutna May 18, 1999, that burned 383 acres got started when a smoldering slash pile flared up. It took five days to bring the blaze under control and cost the federal government more than $1 million.

Lawrence Traw, who owns the property where the fire began, is being billed to recover the cost of fighting the fire.

''Not only do we need to be responsible to the taxpayer by recovering the cost of suppressing the fire, we also need to raise awareness that carelessness with fire can have devastating effects,'' said Fran Cherry, state director for BLM in Alaska.

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