JUNEAU (AP) -- Forest officials said Wednesday that continued dry weather has increased the fire risk in state and national forests in Southeast Alaska.
Officials with the Alaska Division of Forestry and Tongass National Forest said all campfires, warming fires and other fires on Southeast lands managed by the agencies must be attended at all times, and all fires must be put out before leaving the area.
Unusually warm, dry conditions and human carelessness have led to 20 wildfires on national forest, state and Alaska Native corporation lands within the past two weeks, officials said. The Tongass forest had 11 fires during 2001.
Chainsaws, all-terrain vehicles and catalytic converters in vehicle exhaust systems can start fires on dry vegetation, said Mike Curran with the Division of Forestry.
Those responsible for wildfires can face criminal and civil penalties, including the costs of putting the fire out and the value of resources destroyed.
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