WHEREAS, Alaska’s breathtaking wildlands serve as habitat for fish and wildlife, provide abundant recreational opportunities for residents and visitors, are home to vast timber resources, and enrich our Alaskan lifestyle; and
WHEREAS, wildland fires are a natural and inevitable part of the ecosystem and are crucial to the maintenance of forest health; they are also unpredictable and can spread at a swift pace, endangering lives and property; and
WHEREAS, Alaska’s wildland fire management agencies share the common goals of promoting personal safety and reducing loss of life, while preserving and enhancing the health of forests and wetlands; and
WHEREAS, naturally caused wildland fires are part of a healthy ecosystem, fires caused by people occur every year, and they typically pose more of a threat to residents, firefighters, and property. Wildland fires pose a serious public safety concern, so Alaskans must use precaution, practice prevention, and be prepared to protect the communities that are surrounded by, and intermingled with, undeveloped lands; and
WHEREAS, in recent years, the trend has been for earlier and longer fire seasons due to the changing climate. On average more than one million acres burn from wildfires in Alaska each year, making public awareness of wildland fire prevention practices and preparedness measures crucial for public safety; and
WHEREAS, given the potential impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic could have on wildland firefighting resources and the response to, and management of, wildfires in Alaska during the 2020 fire season, making it more important than ever to reduce human-caused fires; and
WHEREAS, communities and individuals must be proactive in both preventing and preparing for wildfires.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim May 10-16, 2020 as:
Wildland Fire Prevention and Preparedness Week
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to recognize the importance of wildfires to the Alaskan landscape, be aware of their potential for damage, and commit to educating themselves on how to reduce the threat of wildland fires to our homes, property, and community.