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Alaska News

State plans burn ban starting May 1, citing travel restrictions for firefighters

JUNEAU — The Alaska Division of Forestry plans to suspend all burn permits starting May 1 in an effort to preemptively stop wildfires.

The department did not say when the burn ban would be lifted.

The ban does not cover “cooking, warming or signaling fires that are less than three feet in diameter,” such as campfires.

The department believes Alaska will lack firefighters and equipment from the Lower 48 this year because of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. In addition, the department said, firefighters could contract and spread COVID-19 when responding to wildfires.

In a written statement issued Tuesday, the department said, “Given the potential effects of COVID-19 on the upcoming fire season, Alaska’s wildland fire suppression agencies need the public’s help more than ever to keep firefighters and communities safe.”