PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - The Matanuska-Susitna Borough has announced that residents may drop any trees killed by the ongoing Spruce Beetle outbreak at the central landfill or two transfer stations, free of charge. Mat-Su Assemblyman Jim Sykes says this temporary initiative is meant to help curb the spread of spruce beetles while reducing the increased risk of forest fires that comes with the addition of dead, drying trees in areas where the beetles are located.
The borough's website contains statistics from the past 4 years, regarding the spread of spruce beetles in the Mat-Su Valley.
The statistics indicate that 1,139,866 acres of land have been impacted by spruce beetles in Alaska as of last year — with the affected acreage within the MatSu Borough sitting at 609,009 acres.
There's currently no deadline in place for dropping off spruce beetle kills; however, any logs measuring at greater than four inches in diameter must be cut to under eight feet in length. Logs greater than twelve inches in diameter must be shorter than four feet in length.
Hours for drop sites are listed below. All sites will be closed in observance of Memorial Day.
Central Landfill: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Big Lake Transfer Station: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Limited to 5 cubic yards per trip)
The Sunshine Transfer Station in Talkeetna: Sundays, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Commercial haulers are not eligible to dump spruce beetle killed trees at these locations for free, based on the terms set by the borough.
Residents may also pick up logs from any of these sites, as the wood remains suitable for use as lumber or firewood.
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