Fire danger high in Chugach National Forest - Tips for your campfire

Photo Source: Flickr / Forest Service Northern Region / CC BY 2.0 / MGN

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Park rangers say fire danger is high in much of the Chugach National Forest, a popular recreation area spanning a large part of Southcentral Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound. Park rangers are warning Alaskans and visitors alike to practice fire safety while enjoying the forest.

The Swan Lake fire is burning near the area also, and state DOT officials say Milepost 65-70 of the Sterling Highway is experiencing poor visibility due to the smoke.

While the area is forecast to see some rain, the Forest Service points out that 99 percent of wildfires in the Chugach National Forest are caused by people, and unattended campfires are of particular concern.

As of Thursday, 51 active fires were burning across the state, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, a partnership between state and federal agencies. Seven of those active fires are staffed.

The Forest Service shows high fire danger on the Eastern Kenai Peninsula, in Prince William Sound and the Copper River Delta
The Forest Service does not require campfire permits, but the agency gives tips on how to make sure your campfire doesn’t ignite a larger fire.

  • Find a safe location clear of overhanging branches, dry grass, leaves, sticks and logs. Build in an established fire pit or within a rock ring if possible.

  • Make sure the fire area is protected from wind gusts, and keep a bucket of water and shovel nearby, and extra wood away from the fire.

  • To extinguish a campfire, allow it to completely burn to ash, if possible

  • Drown all embers, using lots of water, until the fire no longer hisses

  • Stir the ash and water with a shovel, stick or other tool

  • Scrape any remaining logs to remove possible embers

  • Make sure everything is cold to the touch

  • If water is not available, mix sand or wet dirt into the fire pit

  • Do not bury the fire – it will continue to smolder and may ignite roots below the surface

To report a wildland fire in Alaska, call 1-800-237-3633.

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