How are daily burn approvals determined?
Daily burn approval is posted on the AFD Burn Hotline at 267-5020. Daily burn approval is contingent upon the Air Quality Index, Wind, Fire Weather Indices and availability of Suppression Response Apparatus. These variables are assessed each morning before posting the burn approval on the hotline.
1. The Air Quality Index is a measure of particulate matter in the atmosphere. It is relevant to the health of residents and is also frequently affected by the thermal inversions local to the Anchorage Bowl.
2. When wind speed exceeds or is forecasted to exceed 10 mph, burning is not allowed. AFD is working to utilize all available wind speed indicators to localize this variable.
3. The Fire Weather Index indicates the relative danger level for fire ignition and spread. It measures the moisture content of three classes of surface forest fuels. It then adds the effect of wind to report relative fire behavior. This system tracks the effects of weather on forest fuels on both a daily and seasonal basis. It is measured at specific weather stations positioned in areas of high fire hazard.
4. Finally, AFD also evaluates the apparatus available to respond to a brush fire. While AFD is the primary responder to fires.
5. The Division of Forestry (DOF) is the primary mutual aid responder to the Municipality in the event of a wildfire, if needed. AFD staffs additional brush rigs during the summer months. DOF apparatus in Palmer supports the Mat-Su Borough and the Municipality of Anchorage with helicopters, air tankers and engine crews. Fires burning in other parts of the state may require assistance from DOF Palmer, as well.
Firewise information is available at https://www.muni.org/Departments/Fire/Wildfire and at Municipal Channel 9. Prepare your home now, wildfire season has already begun!