Division of Forestry issues burn permit suspension

Burn permits on the Kenai Peninsula have been suspended.

The Alaska Division of Forestry’s Kenai-Kodiak Area Office issued the suspension Monday due to high fire danger in the area. Debris and brush pile fires, burn barrels and lawns will not be allowed under the suspension. Campfires less than three feet in diameter, commercially made barbecues, smokers, hibachis, camp stoves ad other outdoor cooking and warming devices will still be allowed.

The Division of Forestry will continue to monitor the fuel conditions on the peninsula, but right now the fire danger is high to very high in the area, said Dan Govoni, the fire prevention officer for the Division of Forestry’s Kenai-Kodiak Area Office.

“We’re going to keep assessing (fuels) on a daily basis,” Govoni said. “What we’d need is a good soaking rain to bring our fuel indices down.”

Rain is predicted for the peninsula later in the week, beginning Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. What the managers will look for is rain that permeates the upper canopy of the trees and reaches the ground to wet the grasses, Govoni said.

People often confuse the suspension with a burn ban — they are not the same thing, Govoni said. A ban is a complete prohibition on burning and would come from Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ commissioner’s office, he said.

The City of Kenai also issued a burn permit suspension with the same parameters. The city tries to follow similar restrictions to the Division of Forestry, said City of Kenai Fire Chief Jeff Tucker.

“If we get enough rain and it knocks the fire danger down, we’ll lift it,” Tucker said.

For further information on the current burn suspension, call 907-260-4269 or visit alaska.forestry.gov/burn.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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