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Borough Mayor: Local Ban on Fireworks Remains; State Limits Open Burning

Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins says even though state officials on Tuesday lifted a ban on the sale of fireworks in much of Alaska, they won’t be sold here in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and their use remains illegal.“The borough had a ban on the use of fireworks in the borough, which would be outside the two cities. But they complied also, so it’s the whole borough at this point,” Hopkins said.

And despite the state Forestry’s Division to lift its ban on open burning in many areas around the state, which also was announced Tuesday, open burning is still not allowed in the borough and other areas around the Interior.

Hopkins wants to make sure area residents know that local government officials still are concerned about the potential fire danger in this part of the Interior. Even though rain has dampened some adjacent areas, it hasn’t gotten to others nearer to Fairbanks where wildfires are still burning.

“There is lots of military land in the borough,” he said, “and the report today from Forestry is that those fires on military training grounds are still burning.”

Hopkins says the fireworks stands just off the Richardson Highway in North Pole will not be open in the lead-up to the Fourth of July weekend. He says they’ll be open before Labor Day, when fire danger diminishes – and when skies get dark enough at night to enjoy the show.

“They plan on opening it probably on Labor Day and then again before New Year’s, when we’ve got a lot dark and a lot of snow.”

He says the local burn and fireworks bans aren’t intended to dampen Independence Day celebrations; they’re in place to protect life and property during a year that’s on track to set a new record for wildfire activity.

“We’re being precautionary,” Hopkins said, “and I think our residents will understand that and hopefully they’ll comply.”

As for open burning, an advisory sent out Tuesday to emergency-service personnel says the Fairbanks Area Forestry will still have a burn suspension order in place for the Fairbanks area, including North Pole and Salcha, and in Nenana, Anderson and Healy.

The advisory says the public is permitted to use burn barrels, campfires and charcoal grills.

Tim has worked in the news business for over three decades, mainly as a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Arizona. Tim first came to Alaska with his family in 1967, and grew up in Delta Junction before emigrating to the Lower 48 in 1977 to get a college education and see the world.