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Empire Editorial: Bears and fire - the scent of the season

Posted: May 7, 2014 - 12:03am

Spring is here, and with it that glorious waxing sunshine. While we bake in the sun’s rays, so are Southeast’s verdant forests. Last week, Capital City Fire and Rescue and Tongass National Forest officials cautioned that dry, windy conditions have made Southeast ripe for wildfire.

We live in a rain forest, but the former element in that twin noun has been missing. A pair of grass fires blackened patches of Douglas Island last weekend, and CCFR briefly issued a burn ban before conditions changed.

As long as conditions remain dry — no rain has fallen in Juneau since April 29 — wildfire danger will remain significant. Smokey the Bear isn’t a frequent visitor to Juneau, and we’d like to keep it that way. Please watch your barbecues, cigarette butts and campfires.

While you’re at it, keep a lookout for our resident bears as well. Smokey doesn’t live in Juneau, but plenty of his cousins do.

Bear activity is almost back to summer levels, and that means bears will soon be getting into trash — unless YOU do something to stop them. A fed bear is a dead bear, biologists say, and a fed bear may be eating from your pocketbook, too.

Last year, the CBJ Assembly issued an ordinance that holds homeowners liable if they don’t maintain bearproof garbage containers. Failing to keep a bear out of your garbage is a misdemeanor backed by steep fines.

Let’s keep Juneau wild and free — keep your garbage and fires under control.

• Empire editorials are written by the Juneau Empire’s editorial board. Members include Publisher Rustan Burton,; Director of Audience Abby Lowell,; Managing Editor Charles L. Westmoreland,; and Asst. Editor James Brooks,

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Lorraine Murray
Lorraine Murray 05/07/14 - 09:10 am
A pair of grass fires

A pair of grass fires blackened patches of Douglas Island last weekend......

Several different groups of concerned residents have approached CBJ, over the last couple of years, about the growing use of fireworks in Juneau. These people have all asked CBJ to either ban or to at least restrict the use of fireworks to designated areas during the 4th of July for public safety reasons - the risks of fire being one of the reasons.

Most every other community in our state has a Fireworks Ordinance that either bans, or mitigates the hazards and impacts fireworks have on residents but not Juneau.
Our climate is drying and residents want action; CBJ - now IS the time.
Let’s not be a disaster driven community.... the writing is all over the wall.

. Shannara
. Shannara 05/07/14 - 01:34 pm
And those particular grass

And those particular grass fires are related to fireworks .... how?

Let's stay on topic.

Lorraine Murray
Lorraine Murray 05/08/14 - 08:30 am
.Shannara - Fire, CCFR

.Shannara - Fire, CCFR issuing a burn ban because of the risks of fire. Concerned citizens requesting CBJ to restrict the use fireworks. Fireworks start fires....these things are all related.

CBJ should not be encouraging activities that put our community at risk for fires. Rather, CBJ should show leadership, "awaken" residents to step-up to the plate, and prepare for our changing - drying - climate.

. Shannara
. Shannara 05/08/14 - 08:28 am
Not according to the article.

Not according to the article. There is no place mentioned in the article that fireworks created those burns.

See article.

Karl Ashenbrenner
Karl Ashenbrenner 05/12/14 - 12:46 pm
On the subject of bears

maybe if the garbage collection was at a consistent time some of the "bears in garbage" would be mitigated. Waste management wants your garbage out by 6am but pickup can be anywhere from 615a to 5pm. The longer the garbage is out even in the new "bear" containers the greater the chance for bears to get in. BTW I watched a bear open one by squeezing the sides and the locking lid just popped open!

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