Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Fire risk 'very high'; no burning


Haines Volunteer Fire Department Chief Scott Bradford issued a burn ban Monday, as fire danger climbed to one notch below “extreme.”

Campfires, burn barrels and open flames are prohibited until further notice.

The Juneau Weather Service issued a “red flag warning” Saturday due to warm, dry conditions, leading Bradford to issue the ban.

April wasn’t much drier than usual, with 1.88 inches falling at the airport, compared to the 2.04 average, said National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Fritsch. But March precipitation was “very much below normal,” he said. At the airport, the weather service recorded 1.5 inches, 2.29 inches below average.

“It’s pretty much the driest time of the year for Southeast,” Fritsch said. “You folks up there in Haines and Skagway, you guys are the dry spot in Southeast Alaska year-round.”

“We had a really exceptional winter in terms of a lot of clear days, and with that, of course, if you have the clear you have less precipitation. That was pretty much courtesy of a long-term high pressure that set up over Canada,” Fritsch said.

Haines area forester Roy Josephson said fire danger will likely remain relatively high until green-up. “It’s dry. There’s a lot of dead grass and leaves and wood that’s left over from last fall. We’re getting some green-up now, but we’re not getting much yet,” he said. 

Fritsch said an increase in relative humidity and a high chance of rain will likely bring relief by the end of the week.