The Swan Lake Fire can be seen from above on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alaska Wildland Fire Information)

The Swan Lake Fire can be seen from above on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alaska Wildland Fire Information)

Burn permits suspended on peninsula

Current conditions in the Kenai Peninsula Borough increase the chances of surface fires.

Permitted burns on the Kenai Peninsula and in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley are suspended effective immediately due to weather conditions, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry announced Monday.

Small- and large-scale burn permits for all areas of the Mat-Su Borough and the Kenai Peninsula Borough are suspended “until conditions moderate.” The suspension prohibits the burning of debris and brush, the use of burn barrels and fires used for property cleanup, which are considered burn piles.

According to a DNR release, current conditions in the Kenai Peninsula Borough and in the Mat-Su Borough increase the chances of surface fires.

“The combination of hot, dry and windy weather will quickly outweigh the fire-dampening effects of recent rain and increase the chances of expanding, wind-driven surface fires,” the release said.

Small campfires, less than 3 feet in diameter and with flames less than 2 feet tall, are allowed during burn suspension, as are “commercially manufactured burning devices,” like grills and smokers, however, DNR asks that people doing so exercise caution.

DNR is also asking people to check debris that they have recently burned to make sure that the fires are completely extinguished and that there isn’t any heat remaining. According to the release, fires can continue to burn underground through duff layers and root systems for months.

More information about the burn suspension can be found on DNR’s website at dnr.alaska.gov.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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