It is now a misdemeanor in Anchorage to violate a burn ban. That’s after the Assembly unanimously approved an emergency ordinance Tuesday against open burning when it’s prohibited.
The Anchorage Fire Department declared a burn ban on Friday — until further notice. That ban prohibits all open fires including backyard fire pits.
The emergency ordinance makes it a class A misdemeanor to knowingly create an open burn when it is prohibited, or to permit open burning without contacting emergency services. Penalties for a class A misdemeanor can include up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Before the ordinance, the consequence for violating a burn ban was a civil penalty.
The emergency ordinance will last for 60 days. The Assembly anticipates voting on a more permanent version of the ordinance at its next meeting on June 7.
The National Weather Service says fire danger will remain high through the upcoming Memorial Day weekend in much of Southcentral Alaska, with warm and dry conditions in the forecast.