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Kenai Peninsula burn permits suspended

Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Warm, dry weather has boosted the danger of wildfires, so the Alaska Division of Forestry has suspended burn permits throughout the Kenai Peninsula until further notice.

The fire danger is high to extreme, said Sharon Roesch, fire prevention officer for the Division of Forestry in Soldotna. Fine fuels such as dead grass and the twigs in beetle-killed spruce trees are extremely dry.

Since Sunday, Forestry has responded to five small fires on the Kenai Peninsula and one at Beluga in western Cook Inlet.

A fire Monday in Nikiski -- started by a campfire -- could have been catastrophic, she said. That spread quickly through a logged area grown up with grass, she said, and the remaining spruce trees exploded in flames. A quick response from Nikiski Fire Department and Forestry firefighters held the blaze to an acre and a half.

The cities of Kenai and Homer have suspended city burn permits, she said. Central Emergency Services and the Nikiski Fire Department issue state burn permits, she said, and those are covered by the state suspension. Forestry's Matanuska-Susitna area office also has suspended burn permits until further notice.

No burn permits are required for burn barrels or for cooking and warming fires. However, even those require adherence to strict guidelines:

n Never burn during windy weather.

n Campfires and burn barrels must be located on bare dirt and away from vegetation.

n Water to extinguish the fire must be at the site.

n Burn barrels must be covered with a metal screen.

n All fires must be attended until they are completely out.

n Burn barrels are not allowed in the city of Kenai.

If the state institutes a burn ban -- a step it has not yet taken -- even campfires and burn barrels would be banned.

Forestry urges residents to check burn piles lit this spring for signs of remaining embers, which may be present even where no smoke is visible. Look for fresh white ash, which may indicate a pit of hot embers. Extinguish hot spots by opening ash pits and applying water.

Smoldering ash pits may work to the surface and ignite wildfires. They also pose a danger to people who may step into them, thinking the fire is out, and be severely burned.

BYLINE1:Staff report

Warm, dry weather has boosted the danger of wildfires, so the Alaska Division of Forestry has suspended burn permits throughout the Kenai Peninsula until further notice.

The fire danger is high to extreme, said Sharon Roesch, fire prevention officer for the Division of Forestry in Soldotna. Fine fuels such as dead grass and the twigs in beetle-killed spruce trees are extremely dry.

Since Sunday, Forestry has responded to five small fires on the Kenai Peninsula and one at Beluga in western Cook Inlet.

A fire Monday in Nikiski -- started by a campfire -- could have been catastrophic, she said. That spread quickly through a logged area grown up with grass, she said, and the remaining spruce trees exploded in flames. A quick response from Nikiski Fire Department and Forestry firefighters held the blaze to an acre and a half.

The cities of Kenai and Homer have suspended city burn permits, she said. Central Emergency Services and the Nikiski Fire Department issue state burn permits, she said, and those are covered by the state suspension. Forestry's Matanuska-Susitna area office also has suspended burn permits until further notice.

No burn permits are required for burn barrels or for cooking and warming fires. However, even those require adherence to strict guidelines:

n Never burn during windy weather.

n Campfires and burn barrels must be located on bare dirt and away from vegetation.

n Water to extinguish the fire must be at the site.

n Burn barrels must be covered with a metal screen.

n All fires must be attended until they are completely out.

n Burn barrels are not allowed in the city of Kenai.

If the state institutes a burn ban -- a step it has not yet taken -- even campfires and burn barrels would be banned.

Forestry urges residents to check burn piles lit this spring for signs of remaining embers, which may be present even where no smoke is visible. Look for fresh white ash, which may indicate a pit of hot embers. Extinguish hot spots by opening ash pits and applying water.

Smoldering ash pits may work to the surface and ignite wildfires. They also pose a danger to people who may step into them, thinking the fire is out, and be severely burned.

HEAD:Kenai Peninsula burn permits suspended

BYLINE1:Staff report

Warm, dry weather has boosted the danger of wildfires, so the Alaska Division of Forestry has suspended burn permits throughout the Kenai Peninsula until further notice.

The fire danger is high to extreme, said Sharon Roesch, fire prevention officer for the Division of Forestry in Soldotna. Fine fuels such as dead grass and the twigs in beetle-killed spruce trees are extremely dry.

Since Sunday, Forestry has responded to five small fires on the Kenai Peninsula and one at Beluga in western Cook Inlet.

A fire Monday in Nikiski -- started by a campfire -- could have been catastrophic, she said. That spread quickly through a logged area grown up with grass, she said, and the remaining spruce trees exploded in flames. A quick response from Nikiski Fire Department and Forestry firefighters held the blaze to an acre and a half.

The cities of Kenai and Homer have suspended city burn permits, she said. Central Emergency Services and the Nikiski Fire Department issue state burn permits, she said, and those are covered by the state suspension. Forestry's Matanuska-Susitna area office also has suspended burn permits until further notice.

No burn permits are required for burn barrels or for cooking and warming fires. However, even those require adherence to strict guidelines:

n Never burn during windy weather.

n Campfires and burn barrels must be located on bare dirt and away from vegetation.

n Water to extinguish the fire must be at the site.

n Burn barrels must be covered with a metal screen.

n All fires must be attended until they are completely out.

n Burn barrels are not allowed in the city of Kenai.

If the state institutes a burn ban -- a step it has not yet taken -- even campfires and burn barrels would be banned.

Forestry urges residents to check burn piles lit this spring for signs of remaining embers, which may be present even where no smoke is visible. Look for fresh white ash, which may indicate a pit of hot embers. Extinguish hot spots by opening ash pits and applying water.

Smoldering ash pits may work to the surface and ignite wildfires. They also pose a danger to people who may step into them, thinking the fire is out, and be severely burned.



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