Wildland fire season starts; burn permits now required

Burn permits are available from the Division of Forestry Fire Prevention

The aftermath of a small grass fire off East Hill Road near Homer, Alaska is seen here on April 8, 2020. The fire was started by a discarded cigarette. (Photo by Matt James/Alaska Division of Forestry)

The aftermath of a small grass fire off East Hill Road near Homer, Alaska is seen here on April 8, 2020. The fire was started by a discarded cigarette. (Photo by Matt James/Alaska Division of Forestry)

The State Department of Natural Resources announced Friday that Alaska’s wildland fire season starts today, and that burn permits will be required on all state, municipal and private lands that don’t have a local burn permit program in place.

According to a release from DNR, burn permits are available from the Division of Forestry & Fire Prevention. Small-scale permits can be acquired online from dnr.alaska.gov/burn. At that site, information can also be found about local conditions and restrictions.

A small-scale burn is a burn of one brush pile, the use of one burn barrel, or the burning of maintained lawn, the release said. Larger burns would require a large-scale permit, which requires site inspection, additional people, water or heavy equipment. Those permits can be acquired by contacting the Division of Forestry at forestry.alaska.gov.

Brush pile burning and burn barrels are two leading causes of human-caused wildland fires, the release said. Especially as the snow is rapidly melting, dead grass can dry out and become flammable quickly.

“In April and May, most of the fires we respond to are started by some type of human activity,” Division Chief of Fire & Aviation Norm McDonald said in the release. “That means most early-season fires are preventable. If people follow the safe burning guidelines on their burn permits, we as Alaskans can help each other out and prevent unintentional wildfires.”

For more information, visit dnr.alaska.gov/burn.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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