Fire danger warning issued

The National Weather Service Alaska on Wednesday issued a red flag warning for the western Kenai Peninsula from 6 p.m. today through midnight Friday. A red flag warning means that critical fire conditions are imminent. 

“Residents are encouraged to check your local conditions and consult with your local community resources before burning,” the National Weather Service said in a special weather statement.

An arctic air mass in northeast Alaska is expected to move rapidly into southcentral Alaska, bringing high winds and colder temperatures to the region. It also will bring dangerous fire conditions. Snow-free areas are affected. The western Kenai Peninsula can expect winds from 15 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph and relative humidity of 20 to 30 percent.

Homer Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bob Painter said that while open burning has not been suspended, burn permits will be affected in that burning is not allowed in winds more than 10 mph. Another issue is that burn piles could be rekindled when winds whip up ashes and embers.

“We’re asking that people make sure their burn piles are out,” he said.