The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (BLM AFS) and U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK) will begin implementing multiple prescribed fires on military training lands beginning today. Plans are to start with woody debris piles and dead grass within the Donnelly Training Area East located on both sides of the Richardson Highway south of Delta Junction. Prescribed burning could take place for several weeks.
Prescribed burns are fires that are intentionally set under controlled conditions to reduce dry and dead grass and lower the risk of wildfires that could impact nearby communities, resources, facilities, and military training. Removing hazardous fuels during the spring, when conditions are moderated, allows for the greatest degree of control and the lowest risk for negative impacts, such as smoke. The woody debris piles were created by USARAK to reduce wildfire risk within training areas and to make the area more accessible to firefighting forces.
While smoke from prescribed fires may be visible from various points in the surrounding communities, their potential impact on the public is considered at all stages of prescribed fire planning. BLM AFS and USARAK work closely with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Air Quality and the National Weather Service to mitigate potential impacts. There are also procedures in place to halt ignitions if weather conditions, such as wind direction, become unfavorable.
Guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services will be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission among our personnel and the communities we work in.