Burn ban ordered over much of Alaska amid wildfire worries

A plane assists in fighting a wildfire at Montana Creek near Talkeetna, Alaska, July 4, 2019.

A plane assists in fighting a wildfire at Montana Creek near Talkeetna, July 4, 2019. (Public domain photo by Spc. Michael Risinger/U.S. Army National Guard)

A burn ban was ordered Tuesday over a wide swath of Alaska as firefighters battle dozens of wildfires in the arid state.

“Conditions are almost perfect for the smallest spark to quickly become a large, dangerous wildfire,” Alaska Division of Forestry Director Chris Maisch said in a release.

“There are hundreds of people putting their lives on the line dealing with the fires we have, and we simply can’t risk creating more,” he said.

Joint orders banning campfires and other fires were issued by the forestry agency and the state Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Anchorage television station KTUU reported.

The ban applies to Anchorage along with the boroughs of Fairbanks North Star, Mat-Su, Kenai Peninsula and Denali. Other locations include the area from Glennallen to Valdez and communities in Tanana Valley.

The ban also prohibits cooking, warming and signaling fires. It doesn’t cover gas or charcoal grills, or backpacking or camping stoves that use fuel or compressed canisters.

Burn permits in Division of Forestry protection areas were suspended until conditions improve.

There were 122 active wildfires burning Tuesday in Alaska. Of those, 24 were staffed with firefighters.

There have been a total of 392 wildfires in the state this season, with more than a million acres burned.

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