Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend without starting a wildfire

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 5:20 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Now that the weather is getting warmer and we are headed into the Memorial Day holiday, more people are going to be enjoying the outdoors.

The Alaska Interagency Wildland Fire Information Office wants to remind everyone to please do your part to prevent wildfires this weekend.

“We know people are going to be out camping, hiking, boating, barbecuing, and enjoying other forms of recreation over the holiday weekend. We just ask them to be extremely careful when it comes to the potential for starting wildfires and to be sure to have a burn permits for any debris pile or lawn burning,” said Norm McDonald, Division of Forestry & Fire Protection’s Chief of Fire and Aviation.

Kent Slaughter, manager of the BLM Alaska Fire Service remarked, “We encourage everyone to enjoy all the opportunities to recreate that Alaska provides, and please be careful with any activities that could start a wildland fire, whether barbequing or having a campfire.” Slaughter also added, “Also, keep the hot exhaust system on an engine away from dry, dead vegetation such tall patches of grass or a pile of leaves that could ignite a fire.”

According to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, of the seventy two fires that have started already this season, seventy of those fires were human-caused. Spring green-up is late in numerous parts of the state and the lack of rain has left dead surface fuels very dry and susceptible to ignition.

Here are some important fire safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Never leave any fire unattended, even a short time.
  • Be sure to clear areas around campfires down to mineral soil to reduce chances of escapement.
  • Keep campfires small and manageable.
  • Have tools and water on hand to prevent fires and extinguish them when you are done.
  • Make sure campfires are completely extinguished before you leave them by repeatedly drowning them with water and stirring the coals and ashes until they are cold to the touch.
  • Dispose of barbecue ashes or coals in a fireproof container; do not dump them in the woods.
  • Call 911 immediately if there is a wildland fire emergency.

Burn permits are free and available at local Forestry & Fire Protection offices, many local fire departments, and online at https://forestry.alaska.gov/burn.