State fire officials have suspended the use of fireworks across a large swath of Alaska as the state heads into a weekend of hot, dry weather ahead of the Fourth of July holiday Monday.
The suspension was issued Thursday by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, with cooperation from the Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire Protection. It’s an immediate suspension and will remain in effect until further notice, according to a statement from the Department of Public Safety.
The suspension applies only to personal-use fireworks, a public information officer for the safety department said Thursday. Fireworks displays being planned by municipalities or local jurisdictions will still be allowed, as long as the proper permits have been acquired.
The personal-use fireworks suspension applies to the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Denali Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Copper River Basin Area and the areas of Delta Junction, Tok and the upper Tanana Valley.
The use of fireworks is already illegal within the Municipality of Anchorage, and is punishable by a fine of up to $300.
“The weather forecast over much of the state for this holiday weekend will keep fire danger high,” State Fire Marshal Richard Boothby said in the statement. “With much of the wildland firefighting personnel and assets already assigned to fires burning in the state, we can’t take any chances of more human-caused fires. We want everyone to have a safe holiday weekend.”
There are 159 fires actively burning across Alaska, 19 of which are staffed, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center. The state set a record this summer when 1 million acres of land were burned by fires by June 15, the earliest in decades.
Open fires are currently banned in Anchorage, which has contended with multiple small wildfires breaking out across the city recently as the abnormally hot weather persists. A burn permit suspension went into effect for the Mat-Su last week, and the Alaska Division of Forestry enacted a weeklong burn permit suspension for the Fairbanks area Wednesday.