Anchorage wildfire danger 'high to extreme,' fire officials say

casey.grove@adn.comJune 20, 2013 

Dry weather has made the Anchorage area a tinderbox waiting to catch fire, and with wind in the forecast for Thursday, city fire officials are warning residents to be extra careful.

Anchorage residents are advised not to have outdoor fires, a written statement from the fire department says. Fire danger is rated "high to extreme," the statement says. All burn permits are suspended until further notice for land within the city, from Eklutna at the north to Girdwood at the south.

Forecasters say gusting winds are expected on the Anchorage Hillside and along Turnagain Arm. That wind and recent dry weather means even a small spark could flare into a raging wildfire.

"Firefighting resources can be stretched thin in a matter of hours with multiple wildland fire responses," Jim Vignola, operations chief of the Anchorage Fire Department, said in a written statement Thursday.

Volunteer Chugiak firefighters doused burning trees and grass started by a tractor trailer that caught fire Wednesday next to the Glenn Highway near North Peters Creek. Police shut down traffic inbound to Anchorage, causing a jam that lasted hours. Initially, state wildland firefighters had been heading to the fire, as there had been concern it would spread and grow larger.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.

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