Rain helps lift open burn ban

Fire danger lessens; burn permits still required

Posted: Friday, June 02, 2006

A bit of moisture from Mother Nature has given the Alaska Division of Forestry cause for lifting the open burn ban that had been in effect on the Kenai Peninsula.

Because much of the area received some rain Wednesday night and cooler temperatures have brought higher daytime humidity, Forestry ended its burn suspension north of Anchor Point on Thursday, according to Andy Alexandrou, fire information officer.

The fire danger level was lowered to moderate from high.

Burn permits continue to be required by people planning to do any open burning, such as burning of grass, brush and yard debris. Permits must be activated by calling the Forestry office prior to burning.

Five fires responded to by Forestry and Central Emergency Services over the Memorial Day weekend were declared out, according to Alexandrou:

· The Bolan Street fire, which burned one-fourth of an acre off Gaswell Road in the Kalifornsky Beach area;

· The Cooks Daughter fire, which burned one-tenth of an acre off Three Bears Road near Sterling;

· The Diane Street fire, which burned one-tenth of an acre in Sterling off North Scout Lake Loop Road;

· The Cape Kasilof fire, which burned one-tenth of an acre near the bluffs at the end of Cohoe Loop Road;

· The Clearwater Drive fire, which burned one acre off Skyline Drive in Homer.

The Green Timbers fire, which burned three acres near Mile 168 of the Sterling Highway between Anchor Point and Homer, also was declared out.

The Cohoe Loop fire that burned 67 acres in Kasilof, continues to be in monitor status, according to Alexandrou.

“They did not find any smokes on it, but we want some Mother Nature moisture on it because of the kinds of fuel that burned,” he said.

Kasilof resident Brenda Cameron told officials she had been burning grass and small piles of brush near her home May 22 as part of a plan to establish a defensible space around the house at Mile 5.4 North Cohoe Loop Road when the fire took off.

Cameron told authorities she heard a “pop” and one pile fire “went sky high.” She phoned 911 for help, and soon the blaze grew beyond her control, spreading into a sparsely populated area between Hermansen Drive, Cohoe Loop and Le Doux Road.

She had called Forestry beforehand to activate a burn permit.

On Thursday, Alexandrou said Cameron was cited for failure to create a fire break around the fires.

A fire break is one of several requirements for burning with or without a burn permit. Permits are not required for cooking and warming fires or for burning in burn barrels.

Other requirements are:

· Never burn during windy conditions;

· Campfires and burn barrels must be in dirt areas away from vegetation;

· Water must be on site for putting out the fire;

· Burn barrels must be covered with a metal screen;

· Any fire must be attended until it is out completely.

Burn barrels are not allowed in Kenai.

For current information on open burning suspensions, people may call the Alaska Forestry fire prevention office at 260-4261.

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