Statehood bonfire hits air quality snag

Posted: Wednesday, November 19, 2008

JUNEAU - A proposed bonfire in Juneau's Mendenhall Valley may become a non-fire.

Residents wanting to commemorate the 50th anniversary of statehood sought to celebrate by lighting a giant bonfire in an empty lot.

But City Manager Rod Swope said no open burning is allowed in the Mendenhall Valley and there are no waivers.

He also said the federal Environmental Protection Agency has tightened air quality regulations and the agency is contemplating extending a burn ban to the entire municipality.

Swope said a huge bonfire could pose a political problem if smoke exceeds air quality limits. The bonfire could trigger a clamp down by the EPA, he said.

City staff members will explore having the bonfire at a park on Douglas Island.

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