FAIRBANKS, Ak - In an effort to reduce the risk of fire within the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the sale and use of fireworks are banned until further notice.
The sale of fireworks has always been limited to the city of North Pole within the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
North Pole Fire Chief Buddy Lane has already restricted fireworks sales due to extremely dry conditions.
Now, the Borough, city of Fairbanks and city of North Pole, in conjunction with Interior fire chiefs and the Alaska State Fire Marshall have banned the use of fireworks as well within Borough Fire jurisdictions.
"It's a factor of our safety, our residents safety and to be able to have the fire departments expend their resources on the fires that start by lightning or other means that they're responding to now" said Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins.
Fire chiefs have the authority under State law to ban fireworks, but enforcement of the ban will be up to local law enforcement and Alaska State Troopers.
Penalties for those who violate the ban are varied.
"From a trooper standpoint, it can go anywhere from a criminally negligent burning to arson, just depending on how they are being used," said Kelly Nicolello, Alaska State Fire Marshal. "For someone who simply has it in their possession, they'd be cited with, I believe, a Class B misdemeanor. "
The ban is in effect beginning noon, Friday, June 28th until further notice.
The fire danger is so extreme, effective immediately, all firewood cutting, both personal use and commercial logging is suspended.
"It's because of the hazards that can happen and we don't need fire starting on sometimes very remote and very hard to access areas, ...that would be the open areas for firewood permits," said Hopkins.
As the Independence Day holiday approaches, Borough and fire officials advise residents to check with State of Alaska Division of Forestry websites for the latest fire information in areas they may be traveling through or to as a destination.