Fast response, wary public keeping Alaska wildfires down

Aggressive response and the public’s adherence to good fire practices are keeping forest fires down in Alaska despite tinderbox conditions in much of the state.

Through Sunday the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center reported 159 fires this year but fewer than seven square miles burned.

Unseasonably warm and dry temperatures coupled with grasses that remain brown from lack of moisture are making spring fire danger high.

The Yukon Flats and surrounding uplands, Fortymile River country, the Deltana-Tanana flats, and the Eastern Alaska Range remain under a red flag warning watch.

Fire agency spokesman Tim Mowry says two air tankers, a water-scooping aircraft and 16 smokejumpers from Boise, Idaho, were moved to Alaska last week because of the continued danger.

He says the public is to be credited for following burn laws.