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Dry Southeast Conditions Bring Fire Warnings to State and Federal Lands


August 10, 2003
Sunday - 12:45 pm

Ketchikan, AK - Alaska Division of Forestry and Tongass National Forest officials on Friday warned that fire danger continues to rise in southeast Alaska. Officials stated that all campfires, warming fires and other fires on lands managed by the State of Alaska or the

"High fire danger may be rare in southeast Alaska, but we're facing it right now."...
Tom Puchlerz, Tongass National Forest Supervisor
National Forest must be attended at all times, and all fires must be put out before those starting it leave. Unusually warm, dry conditions, if coupled with human carelessness, could lead to wildfires erupting on the Tongass National Forest, State lands and Alaska Native corporation lands.

"High fire danger may be rare in southeast Alaska, but we're facing it right now," Tongass National Forest Supervisor Tom Puchlerz 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 Coastal Region Resource Forester Greg Staunton. "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."

According to the Alaska Division of Forestry those responsible for wildfires may face both criminal and civil penalties. Fines could 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:

USDA Forest Service - Tongass National Forest
Web Site


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