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Kodiak Island Borough issued a reminder Monday that firewood collection on borough-owned land requires a permit. Personal-use gathering is now available on a portion of the borough-owned land where the Twin Creeks Fire burned around Chiniak in 2015. The borough permit for the Chiniak fire damage area is free.

The borough charges $25 for a 30-day firewood permit to collect on other borough-owned land in the Kodiak city area. The part of the Chiniak burn area currently open is accessible only to travelers through land owned by Lesnoi Inc., and that access is granted for anyone who buys a $20 permit from the Native corporation. 

Borough resource manager Duane Dvorak said the borough intends to offer a free permit for Chiniak burn area until the dead trees in the area no longer have value.

“As other areas come open this Spring, the permits will remain free,” Dvorak said.

The borough owns about 800 acres in the footprint of the Twin Creeks Fire, which burned about 5,000 acres of private and government-owned land. A commercial logging company, A-1 Timber, is operating in the area under a salvage logging contract with the borough. Access to land where A-1 is operating is prohibited.

People traveling in the area will see gates and signs. The borough’s resource management office can help with maps.

The free firewood gathering permits are for personal use firewood only. The borough and its forestry consultant Wade Wahrenbrock are also working on a plan for commercial firewood harvesting. Dvorak said no commercial contracts have been signed yet because borough staff wants the borough assembly involved with policy-setting decisions that will need to be made.

Live trees in the burn area can be as hazardous as standing dead trees, especially in places where nearby trees have been harvested, Dvorak said.

“The really tall ones catch a lot of sail and when the dead trees around them are removed, they could be feeling wind that they have never felt before,” Dvorak said.

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