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Comment & Response document for adopted wildland fire regulations

The document attached below includes:

  1. Public comments received on the proposed changes to the regulations in 11 AAC 95.400 - .495, pertaining to wildland fire prevention and enforcement, and
  2. The Division of Forestry's responses to the comments and changes made to the draft regulations to create the final adopted regulations.

 

State Forestry burn permits required starting April 1

The Alaska Division of Forestry reminds residents that general burn permits for open debris burning and the use of burn barrels are required starting April 1 in areas under state wildland fire protection.

Burn permits are required annually from April 1 through August 31 and residents must obtain a new permit at the start of each season. Burn permits are free and available at State forestry offices, most local fire departments or can be downloaded and printed at http://forestry.alaska.gov/burn. This website is a key resource for learning about safe burning practices in Alaska.

Debris burning and the use of burn barrels are the leading cause of wildland fires in Alaska. Burn permits contain instructions for safe and legal burning.

Residents are required to read and sign the permit before burning. They must also call the forestry office listed on the permit or check online each day before burning to ensure that burning is allowed. Permittees must have the burn permit in their possession when burning. Burn permits are NOT required for camping, cooking or warming fires under 3 feet in diameter.

Burn barrels and debris burning are not permitted within some municipalities. Residents should check with their local forestry office or fire authorities to determine if burning is allowed in their area.

Burn piles larger than 10 feet in diameter and 4 feet high require a large-scale burn permit, which requires a site inspection by a State Forestry Prevention Officer and a burn plan prior to a permit being issued.

Anyone who fails to obtain or adhere to the conditions of a burn permit can be held criminally liable for damage caused by an escaped fire.

CONTACT: Tim Mowry, Alaska Division of Forestry public information officer, 907-356-5512 or tim.mowry@alaska.gov

 

Tanana Valley State Forest Citizens’ Advisory Committee to meet at 6pm on April 25th

The public is invited to attend the upcoming Tanana Valley State Forest Citizens’ Advisory Committee meeting, at 6pm on April 25th. It will be held in the Large Conference Room in the Fairbanks DNR Building, 3700 Airport Way. This committee advises the Division on plans and proposals for managing the 1.8 million acre Tanana Valley State Forest, along with other forested state-owned lands within the Tanana Valley. Public testimony will be accepted during the meeting.

Topics for the CAC meeting include:

  • Update on CAC participation in a NASA-funded research project: 'Investigating Changes in Forests Across Alaska and Canada',
  • Carbon Credit Purchases in the Tanana Valley,
  • Update on the status of forest management on military lands in the Tanana Valley,
  • Update on the Society of American Foresters meeting,
  • Presentation on a salmon habitat improvement project in the Lower Tanana Valley,
  • Fairbanks/Delta Area Update,
  • Tok Area Update, including review of Tok Five Year Schedlie of Timber Sales,
  • Statewide Forestry update

Please see the agenda below for more details.

If you are unable to attend in person and would like to participate by teleconference, or for special accommodations due to audio or visual impairment, please contact me (Alison Arians) by email or phone before April 23rd.

For additional information about the TVSF CAC, visit the committee’s webpage at http://forestry.alaska.gov/tvsf_committee.htm.

 

State Forestry releases 2019 schedule of statewide firefighter training classes

The Alaska Division of Forestry will be holding wildland firefighting training classes at different locations around the state in April and May.

The classes are for veteran firefighters who already have a Red Card, as well as rookie firefighters looking to begin a career in wildland firefighting. Classes are scheduled at Area Forestry offices in and around the communities of Copper Center, Delta Junction, Fairbanks, Palmer, Soldotna and Tok (see attached flyers for schedule of classes).

Firefighters who already possess a Red Card or have received one in the last five years must take a four-hour Fireline Safety Refresher class and pass a Work Capacity (Pack) Test to be re-certified. The Pack Test consists of walking 3 miles in 45 minutes or less while carrying a 45-pound pack.

Firefighters looking to obtain a Red Card to be eligible to work on a fire crew must complete a 40-hour basic firefighting (Red Card) class and pass the Pack Test. Topics covered in the Red Card class include fireline safety, fire behavior, radio communications, fire business management, use of chainsaws, pumps and other firefighting tools and firefighting strategy and tactics.

All Refresher and Red Card classes are free and students must be at least 18 years of age to qualify. Attendance is mandatory at each session of the class to gain certification.

Upon completion of the Red Card class and fitness test, firefighters will receive a Red Card with a national qualification of Firefighter 2 that will allow them to work as an Emergency Firefighter (EFF) or apply for a local wildland fire crew in Alaska and the Lower 48.

 

Board of Forestry Teleconference

The public is invited to participate in a Board of Forestry teleconference on Wednesday, April 3, to discuss statewide forestry issues. The meeting will run from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The nine-member Board of Forestry advises the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources on forestry regulations, provides a forum for those interested in forestry to discuss and seek resolution to issues concerning Alaska’s forest resources, and makes recommendations to the governor and Legislature on research needs.

Topics on the Board’s agenda for the April 3 meeting include:

  • Annual resource agency and Board of Forestry reports on the effectiveness of the Forest Resources and Practices Act
  • Results of 2018’s compliance monitoring and road condition survey
  • Forestry and forest practices budgets for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2019
  • Proposed state regulations and bail schedule for new wildland fire prevention statutes
  • Coastal forest management issues including reports on Tongass Roadless Rule litigation, the Mental Health Trust land exchange, timber sales under the state-federal Good Neighbor Agreement, and salvage harvest potential of beetle-killed spruce in the Matanuska Susitna Borough
  • Statewide forest management issues including reports on Division of Forestry timber sales and Forest Resources and Practices Act implementation
  • Presentations on blowdown prediction/reduction modeling and a trails/outdoor recreation initiative

The Board meeting will be accessible via teleconference and webinar. Teleconference call-in locations will be available in the following communities:

  • Juneau: DNR 4th floor conference room A, 400 Willoughby Ave.
  • Anchorage: DNR 550 W. Seventh Ave., Suite 1450
  • Fairbanks: 3700 Airport Way, DNR large conference room
  • Ketchikan: Legislative Information Office, 1900 First Ave, Suite 310

Those outside of Anchorage, Fairbanks, Ketchikan or Juneau seeking to participate in the teleconference should contact Alison Arians at the Division of Forestry in Anchorage at alison.arians@alaska.gov or at 907-269-8467 no later than noon on Monday, April 1. If no one has contacted her and no one is present at a teleconference site by 9 a.m., the teleconference at that site may be terminated.

For a copy of the agenda, see the attachment below. Contact Arians for additional information, for special accommodations due to audio or visual impairment, or to get on the mailing list for announcements of future Board of Forestry meetings.

CONTACT: Alison Arians, 907-269-8467, alison.arians@alaska.gov

Other forestry matters may be included on the agenda. The meeting is intended to comply with the requirements of AS 41.17.047(b) and (d). Public comment is scheduled for 10 a.m.

 

Notice of Proposed Changes on Wildland Fire Prevention in the Regulations of the Department of Natural Resources

The Department of Natural Resources proposes to change regulations on wildland fire prevention and enforcement.

The Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry proposes to adopt regulation changes in the Natural Resources chapter of the Alaska Administrative Code, dealing with wildland fire prevention and enforcement, including the following:

  • 11 AAC 95.400 - .495 are proposed to be changed as follows: The wildland fire regulations are rewritten to comply with the updated wildland fire prevention and enforcement statutes (AS 41.15) adopted in 2018. These regulation changes provide detail for a new tiered prevention and enforcement structure. Requirements for burn permits, which describe how to burn safely and when burning is allowed, are set out. Methods of public notice of burn restrictions are detailed. Descriptions of when different types of burning devices may be used and inspected during fire season are also included.
  • The Department of Natural Resources does not anticipate additional costs from these regulations changes. While the regulations set up a structure for charging fines for offenses, fines are not expected to generate a meaningful amount of additional revenue. The purpose of the new regulations is to create a more efficient fire prevention program, reducing the number of wildland fires and saving fire suppression costs.

You may comment on the proposed regulation changes, including the potential costs to private persons of complying with the proposed changes, by submitting written comments to Alison Arians, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, at 550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 1450, Anchorage, AK 99501-3566. Additionally, the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry will accept comments by electronic mail at alison.arians@alaska.gov The comments must be received not later than 4:30pm on February 27, 2019.

You may submit written questions relevant to the proposed action to Alison Arians, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry by email at alison.arians@alaska.govor at 550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 1450, Anchorage, AK 99501-3566. The questions must be received at least 10 days before the end of the public comment period. The Department of Natural Resources will aggregate its response to substantially similar questions and make the questions and responses available on the Alaska Online Public Notice System and the Division of Forestry’s website, at http://forestry.alaska.gov/whatsnew.

If you are a person with a disability who needs a special accommodation in order to participate in this process, please contact Alison Arians at alison.arians@alaska.gov or (907) 269-8467 not later than February 13, 2019, to ensure that any necessary accommodations can be provided.

A copy of the proposed regulation changes is attached below, is available on the Alaska Online Public Notice System, and is available by contacting Alison Arians at alison.arians@alaska.gov or (907) 269-8467.

After the public comment period ends, the Department of Natural Resources will either adopt the proposed regulation changes or other provisions dealing with the same subject, without further notice, or decide to take no action. The language of the final regulation may be different from that of the proposed regulation. You should comment during the time allowed if your interests could be affected. Written comments received are public records and are subject to public inspection.

Statutory authority: AS 41.15; AS 41.17.020; AS 41.17.080

Statutes being implemented, interpreted, or made specific: AS 41.15.020; AS 41.15.040; AS 41.15.050; AS 41.15.060; AS 41.15.070; AS 41.15.090; AS 41.15.950

Fiscal information: The proposed regulation changes are not expected to require an increased appropriation.

The Department of Natural Resources keeps a list of individuals and organizations interested in its regulations. Those on the list will automatically be sent a copy of all of the Department notices of proposed regulation changes. To be added to or removed from the list, send a request to the DNR Commissioner's Office by email to marykay.ryckman@alaska.gov, or by mail to DNR Commissioner’s Office, 550 W. 7th Avenue, Ste 1400, Anchorage, AK 99501, giving your name, and either your e-mail address or mailing address, as you prefer for receiving notices.

 

Community orchard and food forest grant application deadline extended to Jan. 31

The State of Alaska Division of Forestry and the Community Forestry Program is extending the application deadline for Community Orchards and Food Forests grants to January 31, 2019.

Please visit our website for more information on the grant or application: http://forestry.alaska.gov/community/index. This is an exciting opportunity to promote community forests, food security, and improve our communities in many far-reaching ways. We hope to promote awareness to the benefits of community trees and forests and demonstrate selection and care of trees.

Please call if you need help with your proposal. We can help you write specifications to ensure that the trees you buy are of high quality, in excellent condition, and appropriate for your site. If you need help from an experienced fruit tree grower in your community, contact your nearest UAF Cooperative Extension Service office, the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association, a Master Gardener, or a local garden center.

Proposals may be emailed to Community Forestry Program Coordinator Jim Renkert at jim.renkert@alaska.gov or mailed/delivered to Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, Community Forest Program, 550 W. Seventh Avenue, Suite 1450, Anchorage, AK 99501. For more information, call 907-269-8465.

 

Division of Forestry seeks members for Tanana Valley State Forest Citizens Advisory Committee

The Alaska Division of Forestry is seeking applications for four seats on the Tanana Valley State Forest Citizens' Advisory Committee. The terms for four members will expire on December 31, 2018. Reappointments will be considered for members with expiring terms who express an interest in serving another term on the committee.

This 12-person committee advises the Division on plans and proposals for managing the 1.8 million acre Tanana Valley State Forest and other forested lands managed by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources in the Tanana Valley. The committee is also a forum for gathering public opinion on management of state forests and helps build a regional consensus about forestry. These are unpaid, volunteer positions. Meetings are held at least one a year, in April, and at other times as needed. More information about the committee may be found at http://www.forestry.alaska.gov/tvsf_committee.htm. Descriptions of the four seats are provided below.

  • Mining Industry. Represents organizations and individuals involved in the mineral exploration, extraction, and processing industries.
  • Regional Representative - Lower Tanana Valley. Represents the public on a regional basis. This includes both commercial and non-commercial as well as consumptive and nonconsumptive uses. The representative should reside in the western Tanana Valley west of the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
  • Tourism Industry. Represents the commercial operators who directly use forest lands as well as those whose customers are incidentally exposed.
  • Private Forest User. Represents the incidental forest user for both consumptive and nonconsumptive activities including subsistence and personal use.

If you are interested in one of these positions, mail a letter explaining your interests and your qualifications to: Alison Arians, Alaska Division of Forestry, 550 W. 7th Ave. Suite 1450, Anchorage, AK 99501-3566, or e-mail it to alison.arians@alaska.gov, so that it is received no later than 5:00 P.M., Wednesday, January 16, 2018. For more information, call Alison Arians at (907) 269-8467.

Spruce Beetle Website Launched

The Spruce Beetle Working Group has recently launched a website with information on spruce beetle in Alaska's trees and forests. It is designed to be used by anyone who is interested in spruce beetles, has questions about spruce beetles, or has spruce beetle issues in their trees.

This website is a collaborative effort among the US Forest Service, the Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry, and the UAF-Cooperative Extension Service.

Forestry Social Media Sites

DOF now has Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube pages:

Individual links to Youtube content: