Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Monday, February 19 2018 @ 12:58 AM AKST

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Fire Prevention Month

Home and GardenWHEREAS, fire is a serious public safety concern, and people are at greatest risk from fire in their or others’ homes, as fires cause devastating personal injury and property loss throughout Alaska each year; and

WHEREAS, in 2015, there were 963 residential structure fires reported in Alaska, resulting in 16 civilian deaths, 50 civilian injuries, 27 firefighter injuries and $31,915,878 in property loss; and

WHEREAS, the three most common causes of home fires in Alaska in 2015 were unattended cooking, unsafe heating methods, and equipment malfunction, and notably, approximately 36 percent of home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms; and
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Relocating Your Home’s Fuel and Hazardous Materials During Erosion Events

Home and GardenAs a result of the increased concerns of bank erosion, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is issuing the following recommendations for homeowners threatened by erosion.

Above ground tanks or other containers used to store fuel should be emptied and relocated to a safe location. If you have a buried fuel tank, remove fuel and block the vent and fill pipes to prevent water from seeping into the tank. If you have any questions on the integrity of your tank, fuel lines, tank stand, the fuel itself, or need help moving or returning the tank to service, please contact your fuel supplier.

In addition to fuel tanks, DEC recommends moving to a safe location all hazardous substances, including: car batteries, used oil, fuels, paints, varnishes, pesticides, household cleaning chemicals, etc.

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Guidelines for Propane Safety

Home and GardenOver the past two weeks we have had two propane explosions which resulted in serious injury to 6 people. The Alaska State Fire Marshal’s Office would like to remind you to be safe regarding the use of Liquefied Propane Gas (LPG). As propane is used in many remote locations and rural communities in Alaska for heating, it is imperative to follow basic, but necessary safety guidelines:

If you smell a strong odor of gas (rotten eggs) leave the area immediately and call the fire department or local Public Safety Office from outside.
Handle any propane-powered equipment cautiously and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Cylinder tanks for equipment such as stoves and ovens must be located outside of the home.
Never store or use propane gas cylinders larger than one pound inside the home.
Never operate a propane-powered gas grill inside the home.
Have propane gas equipment inspected periodically by a professional for possible leaks or malfunctioning parts.

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The Big Lake Public Library Presents: Composting

Home and GardenThe Big Lake Public Library Presents: Composting (Dr. Steve Brown, Cooperative Extension Service) 6:00 to 7:00 PM -

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Secure Your Home Heating Fuel Tanks During Floods

Home and GardenThe Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is issuing the following advisory for property owners near rivers, streams, or in low lying areas that are prone to seasonal flooding.

Secure petroleum fuel containers, including home heating oil and drums used to store fuel, so they don’t float away. Above ground tanks, including propane tanks, may shift or fall causing fuel lines to break or become damaged. If you have a buried fuel tank, block the vent and fill pipes to prevent water from seeping into the tank and contaminating the fuel.

If you have any questions on how to check the integrity of home heating or cooking systems, please contact your fuel supplier, or visit the DEC website http://dec.alaska.gov/spar/ppr/hho.htm
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The Big Lake Public Library Presents: Alaska Gardening

Home and GardenThe Big Lake Public Library Presents: Alaska Gardening. April 7th, 6-7 pm.

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The Big Lake Public Library Presents: Alaska Gardening

Home and GardenThe Big Lake Public Library Presents: Alaska Gardening. April 5th 6-7:45 pm.

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Division of Forestry urges caution when burning

Home and GardenIn light of numerous escaped fires in recent weeks, the Alaska Division of Forestry urges the public to use caution when burning debris from spring yard cleanup or construction projects and using burn barrels. Even though permits for open burning and the use of burn barrels are not required until April 1, anyone burning debris or using a burn barrel is responsible for maintaining control of the fire and can be held accountable if the fire escapes.

Forestry and local emergency services have responded to numerous escaped fires in the Matanuska Valley over the last few weeks. Lack of snow cover and unseasonably warm temperatures this winter in much of Southcentral Alaska have left grass and other dry fuels exposed.

Please adhere to the following safe burning requirements:

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The Big Lake Public Library Presents: Alaska Gardening

Home and GardenThe Big Lake Public Library Presents: Alaska Gardening. March 8th 6-6:45 pm.

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Septic System Installation Classes

Home and GardenDid you know only a certified installer, registered engineer, or approved homeowners may install a septic system in the State of Alaska?

To help you become certified or approved, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is providing training through the Mining and Petroleum Training Services Program at the University of Alaska.

Scheduled one day courses will begin mid-February through April in Kenai, Fairbanks, Wasilla, and Anchorage. You must register in advance. Courses are $100 for certified installers and $80 for homeowners. For days, locations, and more information, call 907-262-2788.

This message brought to you by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
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The Adventures of an Alaskan Beekeeper

Home and Garden

Top Bar Beehive, photo by Dennis Garrett

I became an Alaskan beekeeper on the 19th of April, 2015. On that day a Queen and over 4,000 of her entourage arrived and was introduced to their new home here in Big Lake.

Their new home was ready for them, a “Top Bar” style bee hive built by my friends at My Alaskan Creations, a Big Lake Business. Total cost of the materials was less than $100. The plans available on their website. The bees came from Steve Victors here in Big Lake, and cost $150. Check out his website for tons of great information. My only other costs were a hood, (~$20), and some sugar to get them started. They were feeding on the pollen of trees and other plants before the nectar was available from wildflowers and cultivated crops such as clover, sweet peas, etc.

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Better Maps Help Many Homeowners

Home and GardenPatty Sullivan, MSB

Changes to federal floodplain maps for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough are not final yet, but drafts show that at least preliminarily, many more homes here will be moving out of the floodplain than into it.

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is updating its floodplain boundaries for the 1-percent and 0.2-percent-annual-chance (100- and 500-year) flood events.

The final maps need to be adopted by FEMA and the Borough Assembly. Adoption is anticipated to be in late 2018.

Initial estimates show 1,500 Mat-Su structures are moving out of the floodplain. This means the land the structure is on will no longer hold the federal floodplain designation.

This could save homeowners overall $10 million to $20 million over 15 years.
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Septic System Installation Classes

Home and GardenDid you know only a certified installer, registered engineer, or approved homeowners may install a septic system in the State of Alaska?

To help you become certified or approved, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is providing training through the Mining and Petroleum Training Services Program at the University of Alaska.

Scheduled one day courses will begin mid-February through April in Kenai, Fairbanks, Wasilla, and Anchorage. You must register in advance. Courses are $100 for certified installers and $80 for homeowners. For days, locations, and more information, call 907-262-2788.

This message brought to you by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
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Free Christmas Tree Cutting Area in Borough

Home and GardenBy Ray Nix, Resource Manager

The Matanuska Susitna Borough Land & Resource Management Division is offering a free Christmas tree cutting area for families this year— something which has not been offered in some time. The intent is to provide seasonal spirit while promoting a fun family event (free Christmas tree cutting) as a way to give back to the community we serve.

The Personal Use Christmas Tree Area for one Christmas tree per household is open on a first come, first served, basis beginning Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, and closing Dec. 25, 2015; or earlier at the discretion of the Borough. Christmas tree cutting will be allowed on Borough land within a specified area. The area is located near the Butte.

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How to harvest Christmas trees on state and other public lands

Home and GardenIt’s the time of year when Alaskans want to know where and how to harvest Christmas trees on state and other public lands.

Multi-agency maps and information for Christmas tree harvest areas in Southcentral and Interior Alaska, as well as tips for cutting and caring for a Christmas tree, are available online at http://dnr.alaska.gov/commis/pic/christmastree.htm , or by calling the DNR Public Information Centers at 269-8400 in Anchorage or 451-2705 in Fairbanks.

The Alaska Division of Forestry allows Alaska residents to cut Christmas trees on unrestricted state lands. The maximum tree height is 15 feet and the limit is one tree per household.

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