Burn suspensions across much of Alaska for Independence Weekend

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Extended heat waves across much of the state have prompted officials to issue suspensions on many popular 4th of July activities.

The State Park Service has restricted fires in state parks to campgrounds with designated fire rings or enclosed metal grates across much of the state including the Fairbanks area, Mat-Su Valley, Chugach, Kodiak and Kenai. Campgrounds near Delta and Tok still allow open burning. This includes the popular Chena River State Recreation Area.

Park superintendent Brooks Ludwig with the Alaska State parks said building fires on gravel bars along the river will not be allowed. He said that park rangers can cite people for having a fire outside of a designated fire ring.

The State Division of Forestry has issued a burn suspension for many areas of Alaska. A suspension prohibits the use of burn barrels or burning open debris and suspends burn permits. Fires under three feet in dimeter on private or state land not in a state park are still allowed but Tim Morwry with the Alaska Division of Forestry cations people to make sure they are taking steps to prevent a possible wildfire.

Mowry said the burn suspensions are evaluated on a daily basis and encourages people to check the current status for the area they plan to build a fire.

Fireworks have also been banned across much of the state. The sale or use of fireworks could result in fines according to Mowry.

If the hot, dry conditions persist there is a chance some areas of the state could be place under a burn closure. This would ban any type of fire in effected areas.

Fires burning in the interior have also closed the popular Granite Tors trail. The Nugget Creek Fire is burning in a limited protection area off of Chena Hot Springs Road. Activity from the fire has prompted officials to close the trail.