Despite the significant snowpack throughout much of Alaska and forecasted cooler conditions for April, burn permits will be required starting April 1. The date correlates, per Alaska statute, with the administrative start of the wildland fire season.
Open burning includes brush, grass, slash and yard debris. Burn permits for open burning are required each year from April 1 to Aug. 31, unless otherwise designated by the commissioner, and are subject to burn suspensions and closures. If you have already obtained a burn permit, check to see what year it expires.
Prior to burning, understand the exact terms and conditions of the permit. Open burn piles must be surrounded by a non-burnable surface of at least 15 feet. As the snow melts, construct fire breaks by digging down to mineral soil. Ongoing slash burning will require a permit if the piles are burning on or after April 1.
Avoid burning substances that will create black smoke or toxic gasses. Do not leave piles unattended and have sufficient tools and water available to control the fire. Ensure that burn piles and ash pits are extinguished by mixing them up and putting out any residual burning material. Flare-ups can ignite surrounding vegetation.
To obtain a burn permit and additional specific information regarding the requirements for burning in your local area, please visit the Alaska Division of Forestry website http://forestry.alaska.gov/burn/ or contact your local Forestry Office. Municipality or borough requirements may also apply.
Burn barrels are a frequent source for escaped wildland fires. Approved burn barrels do not require permits and are not subject to burn suspensions, but are subject to closures.
Learn more about approved burn barrels from the Division of Forestry website http://forestry.alaska.gov/burn/ or on the Forestry Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/AlaskaDNRDOF (view “Safe Burning Series - Burn Barrels”).