Seeing smoke near JBER? It’s likely prescribed burns

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 5:57 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Smoke near Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson has people concerned about wildfires, but the Air Force Wildland Fire Branch said the fires are intentional.

JBER is burning military ranges to prevent wildfires later in the season.

On Tuesday, crews worked to mop up after setting fire to an area near Arctic Valley the day before.

Crews mop up prescribed burn on JBER
Crews mop up prescribed burn on JBER(KTUU)

Jonathan Glover with the Air Force Wildland Fire Branch said these are a common sight in the spring.

The planned fires have been set over the past week and a half. Glover said about 1,000 acres have burned, and there’s still about 500 ready to go, depending on weather through next week.

He said there were a few unplanned fires started on ranges this season during training.

Preventing wildfires on JBER is important to keep troops doing their jobs.

“The whole focus of this program is mission readiness and being able to help JBER maintain their ability to train and 2019 wasn’t that long ago — it is fresh in everyone’s mind and it was a pretty epic fire season,” Glover said.

While Glover said local fire departments do know about these prescribed burns, he added that if people see concerning smoke to say something and report the location.

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