The Alaska Division of Forestry has issued an emergency burn closure for the Kenai Peninsula and Matanuska-Susitna boroughs because of wildfire danger and fires currently burning in Southcentral Alaska. The ban went into effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
The closure applies on state, private, borough and municipal lands in those areas, according to the Alaska Wildland Fire Information website. All burning is prohibited, including the use of charcoal grills and also campfires in established fire pits or in designated rings on campgrounds.
“Devices that can be turned on and off — such as gas and pellet grills and backpacking or camp stoves that use fuel or compressed fuel canisters — are still allowed, though users are urged to be cautious with them as well,” a post on the website said.
Extremely high fire danger in Southcentral Alaska follows exceptionally dry weather and record high temperatures in the region this summer.
The burn closure announced Wednesday is in addition to fire restrictions imposed by local governments in the Kenai and Matanuska-Susitna boroughs, and will remain in place “until conditions moderate.”
A burn ban remained in effect in Anchorage on Wednesday, with open fires prohibited due to “very high-extreme” fire danger.
On Tuesday, the Chugach National Forest issued an emergency fire prohibition for the Kenai Peninsula area of the forest. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire — including charcoal — is prohibited, the U.S. Forest Service said in a written statement.