Following rules one way to reduce danger of fire

Posted: Sunday, July 11, 2004

The perfect weather the Kenai Peninsula has been experiencing also provides the perfect recipe for a fire to get out of control.

Fortunately, the 46-acre Kenai River Trail fire was contained Thursday evening. When compared with the 337,100-acre Boundary complex of fires north of Fairbanks and the 187,000-acre Wolf Creek complex of fires near Chena Hot Springs, the peninsula fire seems like little more than a campfire.

Things could have turned out far differently. The entire peninsula can be grateful for the aggressive approach taken to fighting the Kenai River Trail fire. While, so far, the peninsula has escaped a bigger blaze this season, we cannot afford to be complacent. It's impossible to be too careful.

One way to reduce the fire danger is to follow the rules.

First, never burn when burning is not permitted. All burning permits have been suspended until further notice. Cooking and warming fires are only allowed in cleared areas of dirt, sand or gravel, and on the beach, well away from vegetation. Campfires must be attended at all times, and individuals must put the fire completely out before leaving the site. It is illegal to discard any burning material including cigarettes and fireworks into vegetated lands.

People also should remember that anyone who lights a fire that results in fire suppression efforts may be liable for payment of those costs as well as possible criminal penalties.

Peninsula residents can do a lot to take the worry out of the remainder of the fire season by taking every possible precaution to prevent a fire from breaking out. It only takes a small spark to ignite an inferno.

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