BETHEL, Alaska (AP) – The Alaska Department of Transportation is trying to curb vandalism of rural runways through a public awareness campaign highlighting the dangers of breaking airstrip lights.

KYUK-AM reports the airstrip in Russian Mission experienced one of its worst encounters with vandalism in April when 40 runway lights were smashed.

Department outreach coordinator Linda Bustemante says the Rural Airport Safety Program is using public service announcements, posters on bulletin boards and outreach to villages to try to mitigate the problem.

Bustemante says vandalism is common problem for many airstrips in western Alaska.

Jim Duffy, the state’s contractor for maintaining Russian Mission’s airstrip, says children may be drawn to the runway because it’s next to town and it’s the first patch of ground to be cleared of snow.

Information from: KYUK-AM,

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