TALKEETNA — As Mat-Su Borough Emergency Service and Alaska Division of Forestry officials shared updates regarding the Montana Creek fire Thursday, there was an additional message.
“With the dry conditions, we’re very concerned. In the Mat-Su Borough, our responders are stripped as thin as we can go right now,” Mat-Su Borough Emergency Services director Ken Barkley said.
Crews are battling fires throughout the state. In addition to the Montana Creek fire there are still major fires in both the Interior and on the Kenai Peninsula. There is also a fire in East Anchorage crews are still tending to.
“Our main concern right now is if we have another fire,” Barkley said. “Resources throughout the state are at its max.”
Temperatures are expected to stay high throughout the holiday week throughout Southcentral Alaska, with projections into the 90s throughout the Valley, according to accuweather.com. Division of Forestry Public Information Officer Stephanie Bishop said, in addition to enjoying their holiday weekend, Southcentral Alaska residents should be proactive.
“We are in a hot dry season in Alaska, high fire danger,” Bishop said. “Best thing you guys can do this weekend outside of trying to enjoy your holiday weekend is do defensive space around your homes.”
Bishop advises residents to see akfireinfo.com, which includes information on how prepare your property for a potential wildfire.
Tam Boeve, who represents the Mat-Su Borough in District 7, had a plea for Southcentral residents during a press conference in Talkeetna Thursday morning.
“I’d also like the community to get involved and prevent any additional fires. Please do not start any fires. Please do not use fireworks this holiday weekend,” Boeve said.
Boeve also praised those fighting the fire and assisting with the emergency.
“It takes a team effort to fight a fire like this,” Boeve said.
There is currently a burn suspension in effect throughout the Mat-Su Borough. This includes open burning and the use of burn barrels. Technically campfires are still legal, but both borough and forestry officials are strongly advising against starting any campfires.
Earlier this week, the state Department of Natural Resources announced a temporary ban on campfires within the Chugach State Park.
This is a developing story. Continue to see frontiersman.com for more.
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