BLM will burn piles near Tanacross for forest health and wildfire management

Signs of smoke are no cause for alarm to Tanacross, Tok or Alaskan Highway motorists


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Eastern Interior Field Office

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska –In early October, the Bureau of Land Management's Fairbanks District and Alaska Fire Service personnel will burn woody debris piles near Alaskan Highway MP 1326 along the Old Tanacross Road to reduce the risk of wildfire, to private property and the Tanacross community, and to provide a safe space for firefighters to suppress fires in the future. 

“Burning these piles this fall is an important part of ongoing work in the Tanacross area to manage forest resources and reduce the wildfire risks from hazardous fuels near the community," said Geoff Beyersdorf, Fairbanks District Manager. "We appreciate your patience with smoke that may come from the project.” 

The 86-acre prescription burn is part of an ongoing project to restore forest health after a 2012 high wind event downed many trees in the area. Local firewood and biomass heating fuel were previously harvested, and the remaining 300-plus woody debris piles are mostly unsalvageable black spruce trees. Fire is the most effective method to remove the hazardous fuels and improve forest health.  

The burn is planned to occur October 1-15. Ignition will span several days – or sets of days – with residual smoke lingering up to a week or two. To help minimize the impact of smoke on communities and highway travelers, the specific timing of the operation will depend on favorable weather conditions and fuel moisture conditions. Crews will be on site for the duration of the burn.  

Smoke from the prescribed fire may be visible to motorists on the Alaska Highway, as well as from the communities of Tanacross and Tok. Most of the smoke will dissipate during the day, but some nighttime smoke may remain in valley bottoms as temperatures drop. The public is reminded to not call emergency services even though smoke may be visible.  

Please see the attached map, Tanacross Fuels Treatment Project Area Map, for the location of the prescribed burn. 

Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, please visit the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation website:  

For more information, please contact Monika Nicholson, Fuels Specialist for BLM Fairbanks District at (907) 415-8141.   



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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.