Fire danger is extreme throughout most of the Kenai Peninsula, warns the Division of Forestry.
Open burning is prohibited north of the Anchor River and Fox River drainage on the western peninsula. This does not include campfires, but campers must build fires in dirt, sand or gravel areas away from vegetation, completely extinguish the fire with water stirred into the ashes and take care to never light a fire in windy conditions.
Burning permits are still allowed in the Homer and Kachemak Emergency service areas, if permit holders call the Division of Forestry to activate the permit before starting a fire and exercise all due caution while burning. Caution is especially urged for residents of East End Road, including the Russian villages, due to the increasing fire danger in that area.
One wildfire already has flared up on the peninsula, off Jawle Street behind the Harley Davidson shop on the Sterling Highway on Sunday. The fire was reported by a passing motorcyclist and was extinguished before it got large. Smoke from the fire had been seen by neighbors but was not reported because they thought it was a campfire, according to a division press release.
The release also stated the fire was lit by juveniles, and residents of the area knew juveniles had played with fire in that area in the past.
The division stresses that a person or parent of a juvenile who lights a fire that turns into a wildfire requiring suppression may be responsible for paying for the suppression costs as well as criminal penalties.
Residents also are asked to ensure their homes are surrounded by a defensible space that is cleared of flammable materials near any structures. Local fire service agencies have home protection checklists that residents can obtain for this purpose.
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