Campfire ban

Update 6:35 p.m.: The team managing the Shovel Creek Fire has recommended the Martin and Perfect Perch neighborhoods' evacuation level be lowered because recent firing operations have been running smoothly.

Martin and Perfect Perch were placed under a Level 3 evacuation order to leave the area on Monday, July 1. An evacuation shelter was set up at Randy Smith Middle School for displaced residents.

Beginning at noon on Wednesday, access to the area will be staggered as residents are assisted in re-entering the area and their homes.

Update 5:20 p.m. A community meeting with the Pacific Northwest Team 2 to talk about the Shovel Creek Fire is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Ken Kunkel Community Center and will provide attendees with the opportunity for a question and answer session after the team gives some information on fire behavior, evacuations and the weather.

Campfires have been prohibited in most of Interior and Southcentral Alaska in an effort to prevent new wildfires from starting in the state.

Regions listed under the ban are the Copper River Valley, Denali Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the municipality of Anchorage, Glennallen south to Valdez and the Tanana Valley, including Delta, Nenana, Northway, Tanacross, Tok and surrounding communities.

The state Division of Forestry and the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation announced today that the restriction applies to private and municipal lands in these regions, including in pre-established fire pits or rings on state campgrounds, beginning immediately.

“Conditions are almost perfect for the smallest spark to quickly become a large, dangerous wildfire,” said Chris Maisch, director of the Division of Forestry, in a news release. “There are hundreds of people putting their lives on the line dealing with the fires we have, and we simply can’t risk creating more.”

Burn suspensions will also remain in place until conditions change, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

There are 10 active fires in the Fairbanks area as of today, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, and 117 active fires statewide.

Contact the newsroom at 459-7572.