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Dry Southeast Conditions Bring Reminder
of Fire Restrictions on State and Federal Lands


May 22, 2004

Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaska Division of Forestry and Tongass National Forest officials announced Thursday that all campfires, warming fires and other fires on lands managed by the State of Alaska or the National Forest must be attended at all times, and all fires must be put out before those starting it leave. Unusually warm, dry conditions and human carelessness could lead to wildfires erupting on the Tongass National Forest, State lands and Alaska Native corporation lands, under these extreme conditions.

"High fire danger may be rare in southeast Alaska, but we're facing it right now. We're requiring timber sale operators to work only at night and to take other precautions," Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole said. "Everyone needs to remember Smokey Bear's warnings, and be extremely careful with fire."

Campfires are not the only way wildfires are started, noted Alaska Division of Forestry Southern Southeast Area Forester Michael Curran. "People using chain saws and riding all-terrain vehicles should make sure their spark arresters are working properly," he advised. "Even the catalytic converter in the exhaust system of a car or truck can cause a fire if it's parked in heavy, dry vegetation."

Quoting a news release, those responsible for wildfires may face both criminal and civil penalties. Fines may reach $5,000 per incident. Both the costs of putting the fire out and the value of resources destroyed may be collected under civil codes.


Source of News Release:

US Forest Service - Tongass National Forest
Web Site


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