Wildfire season “arriving abruptly”

Published: Apr. 21, 2017 at 7:11 PM AKDT
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Loosely packed grass, ferns, dead leaves and other plants from last season are proving it doesn’t take much to start a wild land fire.

“So when the sun comes out, hits these fuels, the fuel moisture drops dramatically in the course of an hour and it becomes very flammable,” said Forester John See with the Anchorage Fire Department.

The Division of Forestry was called to a wild land fire that shut down the Seward Highway south of Anchorage Thursday. It says the cause was a vehicle’s catalytic converter. The division reports a half dozen small fires sparked in the Mat-Su Valley by a different car with the same problem.

“Our big concern is fuels like these are right up next to our homes and sheds and vehicles where we park so maybe carelessly discarding smoking materials can get a fire going and actually ignite the side of your home, a shed, a vehicle,” said See.

The Anchorage Fire Department says as soon as the snow melts from yards, dead leave and anything else that can burn should be moved away from structures.

“The wood lots will be open in early May, you’ll have a place to take the stuff,” said See.

He says burning the material will add to the city’s spring time air quality problem and so it should be taken out with the trash instead.

To learn if burning is allowed on any given day the Anchorage Fire Department maintains a burn hotline at 267-5020.