Hot weather and gusty winds put Southcentral Alaska at high fire risk over the holiday weekend

High temperatures and gusty winds in the forecast trigger warnings of increased fire danger over Memorial Day weekend for Anchorage, Mat-Su and parts of the Kenai Peninsula.

The National Weather Service released a “red flag warningfor Friday from noon to 10 p.m. as northerly winds blowing up to 20 mph are expected to couple with temperatures in the mid-70s and low humidity.

These combined conditions make it easier for wildfires to ignite and spread quickly in grass, brush or trees, forecasters say.

The fire danger will remain high through the weekend, Weather Services meteorologist Michael Kutz said. Relief in the form of cooler air is not expected to enter south-central Alaska until early next week.

Anchorage has implemented a ban on burning last week and the Assembly on Tuesday passed an emergency ordinance that makes violating the ban a misdemeanor. The ban prohibits campfires, burning and open fires.

[Woman rescued from burning Anchorage Hillside home before flames ignited wildfire]

Burn permit suspensions are also in effect in the Kenai Peninsula and Matanuska-Susitna boroughs. The suspension prohibits burning barrels, burning brush or lawns, but small campfires are still permitted.

Statewide, 124 wildfires have burned more than 11,000 acres so far this year, according to the Alaska Forestry Division. About 80% of fires this year have been caused by people.

[Crews respond to 13-acre wildfire near Homer as warm, dry conditions persist]