ANCHORAGE (AP) -- With fire danger high, the Anchorage Fire and Police departments are preparing for a joint crackdown on fireworks use in the municipality.
Authorities said Tuesday they plan to issue $300 citations during the Fourth of July holiday season in hopes of decreasing the chance someone may accidentally set a major fire. Violators of the ban also will lose their unexploded fireworks.
''The conditions are more hazardous this year and that's something we want to emphasize,'' Deputy Fire Chief Bridget Bushue said at a news conference. ''That is why we are going for the maximum fine. We confiscated fireworks last year but we did not fine individuals or cite them.''
Police will join fire crews patrolling for violators.
''With the heightened fire danger it's that much more critical that they not be used,'' said Sgt. Gary Apperson. ''We realize a few will try to have their fun anyway and we will have a squad of officers specifically to take enforcement action.''
That special detail will include a supervisor and eight officers, said Police Chief Walt Monegan.
Fire Chief John Fullenwider said the large wildfires burning near Fairbanks and on the Kenai Peninsula should be a reminder of the fire danger in Anchorage. He said some Alaska Division of Forestry crews normally available to assist in fighting a wildfire in the Anchorage area are unavailable because they are battling the other blazes.
Fullenwider said he has asked the military to have crews on standby should a major fire break out July 4.
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