Burn permits required soon

Anyone wishing to burn debris in a pile or barrel will be required to have a permit beforehand starting April 1.

The Alaska Division of Forestry announced that a new general permit is being used this year in a reminder to residents published Tuesday. Dan Govoni with the Fire Prevention Office of the Kenai-Kodiak area for the division said the only major changes to the permits were made to streamline them and make them consistent across the Alaska. Previously, permits in different areas of the state had different formats, he said.

“The state went through and they came up with a standardized (one) for everyone,” Govoni said.

Burn permits will officially be available online starting April 1, but Govoni said the local Division of Forestry office has a few thousand paper permits available for those who would like to get one ahead of the deadline. No burns are allowed without a permit after that date, he said.

Residents will need to read and sign their permits, and must call the local forestry office each day they plan to burn, before they burn, to check if they are in fact allowed to that day, Govoni said. If someone plans to start burning early in the morning and continue throughout the day, Govoni said they should call in to the office periodically to make sure they can continue burning.

The biggest problem the Division of Forestry runs into with people burning barrels or piles is that they do so without fully understanding the parameters and limits of their permits, Govoni said.

“One of the overall common things is that people need to read and really understand the burn permit before they start a fire,” he said.

Often, people are found to be burning too large of a fire or materials they are not allowed to.

This year’s burn permits will include a picture that shows what a burn barrel should look like, including the required setbacks for burning and a list of common violations, Govoni said.

Following instructions closely is especially important as the Kenai Peninsula is coming up on what the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center and Alaska Fire Service have projected to be an abnormally hot early fire season, he said.

The local number residents should call when checking if they can burn this season is 260-4269.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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