Alaska Interagency Incident Management TeamOrganization
The #AlaskaDivisionofForestry had this animated 10-minute video produced to help Alaskans become Firewise and protect their homes against wildfires. Whether you live in Alaska or anywhere wildfires are a threat, this video will help you make your home more wildfire resistant and help you in the event a wildfire does threaten your home. Please share it and help your fellow Alaskans become Firewise. Art, animation and voice by Tom Racine.
Alaska's two Type 2 incident management teams became active as of today, April 18, and will take turns rotating every two weeks for in-state wildfire assignments on an as-needed basis. The Black Team is first up on the rotation and will be on call from April 18 through May 1, at which point the Green Team will assume the top spot in the rotation for the next two weeks.
Alaska's lone Type 1 incident management team, meanwhile, will only be available for in-state assignments from now until wildfire activity in Alaska dissipates, usually sometime in early to mid-July. The Alaska Wildland Fire Coordinating Group will make the call on when Alaska's Type 1 team will be made available for Lower 48 mobilizations.
The initiation of the Type 2 IMT rotation is just another sign that the 2018 fire season has officially started in Alaska.
Alaska will be entering fire season later than normal in the interior in late April and May due to heavy snowpack, according to a monthly fire potential #outloo...k from the #PredictiveServices released on April 3. The forecast for June and July is for normal fire activity. Predictive Services releases a month outlook every at the beginning of each month with the fire season outlook set for release on May 1.
While the Interior still has plenty of snow, there are some parts of the state such as Kodiak that are snow free. Be mindful that fuels such as dead grasses are susceptible to ignition, especially before green up. https://fire.ak.blm.gov/predsvcs/outlooks.php
The entire monthly outlook:
The U.S. Drought Monitor has a swath of abnormally dry from the coast of Norton Sound, to the Southwest Interior, the Anchorage area and Kenai. Since the snowpack in most areas of Southwest Alaska are from 1-2 feet, it seems unlikely this dry area is an issue. An area of abnormally dry is identified over the Panhandle. On the opposite end of the spectrum, much of the Interior has a very deep snowpack this season.
◦ Outlook maps show cooler than normal in the Panhandle and a small portion of SE mainland AK and warmer than normal in far western AK and AK Peninsula in April. Wetter than normal conditions are forecast for western and northern AK with
drier in SE mainland AK and Panhandle. The summer as a whole is expected to be warmer than normal with a chance of above normal precipitation across northern AK. After the later than normal snowmelt in the interior there are no reliable
indicators that tell whether the season will be active or slow.
The Alaska Type 1 Interagency Incident Management Team is holding its spring meeting in Fairbanks this week in preparation for the 2018 wildland fire season.
Approximately 80 team members from various agencies, including several from the Alaska Division of Forestry, are attending the meeting, which is being held at the BLM Alaska Fire Service on Fort Wainwright. The Team gets updates on any changes for the upcoming season and also reviews last year's assignments in an effort ...to continually improve team performance.
In the photo below, Team Incident Commander Tom Kurth, who is the Wildland Fire and Aviation Program Manager for the Alaska Division of Forestry, addresses.Team members on Monday.
The Alaska IMT is one of 16 Type 1 IMTs in the country that are ordered to manage large, complex fires around the country. The Team traveled to the Lower 48 three times on fire assignments in 2017 and spent a total of 51 days managing fires in Montana and Oregon in July, August and September.
Who knows what the 2018 season will bring but you can be sure that the Alaska IMT will be prepared and ready to respond.
Looking to start challenging and rewarding career as a #wildlandfirefighter? The BLM Alaska Fire Service is accepting applications for the #NorthStarFireCrew, a...n entry level training crew based out of Interior Alaska. This is your chance to start your career in wildland firefighting. This crew is designed to provide individuals the necessary training and experience to pursue a career in wildland fire. We’re looking for motivated individuals that display a positive attitude, strong work ethic and a willingness to learn.
It’s never too early to start making plans to work on a crew for the 2018 wildland fire season.
The North Star Fire Crew application deadline is April 1.
More information and an application are located on the North Star Crew’s website at http://afs.ak.blm.gov/fireo…/fire-operations/north-stars.php
A letter to the editor from the Alaska Incident Management Team that was published last week in the Eugene Register Guard thanking the local communities for their patience and understanding during trying times.
Management of the Horse Creek Complex and Rebel Fire is being turned over to a Type 3 Team from the McKenzie River Ranger District of the Forest Service, and th...e Hoodoo Incident Command Post is a busy place. Some Alaska Team managers and firefighters will remain during the transition period, and new crews are checking in to begin a two-week work assignment. Others who have been here for between two and three weeks are going through "demobilization," the process of releasing them to go home.
During check-in, new crews are entered into the system so they can be tracked and accounted for, and check out equipment and supplies as needed. "Demob-ing" crews must return equipment and supplies, document training, record work hours, and if necessary, arrange travel.
Paperwork is necessary both to begin work, or to return home for a well-deserved rest!
The Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team (AIIMT) is pioneering use of a new reconnaissance tool for wildfire: the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), more co...mmonly referred to as a ‘drone.’
The UAS is capable of detecting size, location and intensity of fires when conditions are too dangerous or smoky to send in ground teams or helicopters. AIIMT is the first team in the nation to travel to a wildfire incident with a UAS division (including equipment and personnel) as an integral part of the firefighting team.
So what’s the difference between privately owned drones and this one? Communication and safety. If privately owned aircraft or drones are flying near a wildfire, fire managers have to cancel fire surveillance flights for safety reasons. That’s why it’s not legal for private aircraft (including drones) to fly over wildfires.
“The UAS is part of our team,” said Air Support Group Supervisor Jason Brooks, who is also qualified to operate the craft. “Our drone flights are scheduled, approved and conducted with the same amount of communication and regulation as our other air resources - helicopters and fixed wing aircraft used on fires.”
The system requires an FAA certificated and Department of Interior authorized operator (known as the “remote pilot”), an observer, and a licensed drone with a high quality camera. The craft has an operational range of ½ mile from the launch site, and is flown up to an altitude of 400 feet. It can be outfitted with either a video camera, or an infrared camera capable of identifying heat and flames when smoke doesn’t allow a clear view. Field operations staff are able to view video from the UAS live from the fireline, allowing immediate use of the information being gathered. It also feeds GPS location data back to base to help clarify fire perimeters. The team’s current drone offers about :12 minutes of operational flight time, but new models in development will significantly increase flight duration and distance capabilities.
Economics is part of the reason the Alaska Team endorses UAS. The drone, camera and gimbal (which stabilizes the image) cost about $6,500. After initial purchase, the craft is owned by the team and no additional costs are incurred. This contrasts with contracted helicopter costs of more than $1,500 per flight hour.
The team has flown more than 100 missions in Alaska, and used the UAS on wildfires in California and Montana this year. Since September 10, the team has logged 81 flights for a total of 13.45 hours of flight time on the Horse Creek Complex and Rebel Fire in Oregon.
“Drones can’t replace helicopters, but they are a valuable and affordable tool that can help fire managers gather information efficiently while keeping firefighters safe,” said AIIMT Incident Commander Tom Kurth. “They’re another great tool in our tool box.”
The 2nd of the 82nd helped the Alaska Team on a fire several years ago. Here's part of what they do in the day-job.
Crews on the Horse Creek Complex and Rebel Fire have been busy searching out and cutting down hazard trees that were burned or weakened by recent wildfires and ...could impact road systems in the Willamette National Forest. Here are some photos of fallers cutting a large, burned-out western cedar tree on Thursday in the Rebel Fire scar along Forest Service Road 19, as well as pictures of freshly cut Douglas fir trees. Western cedars are notorious for rotting out in the middle, which allows fire to burn out the centers of the trees, leaving them hollow and susceptible to falling. This burned-out, approximately 100-foot tree was close enough to the highway so that if it fell it could have come down across road, prompting the decision to cut it down.
Here are some photos taken Saturday afternoon near the top of McKenzie Pass on Highway 242- which remains closed, by the way - that illustrates the contrast bet...ween the freshly blackened landscape and recent snowfall, a considerable amount of which remains on the forest floor. As you can see, there are still smoldering trees putting off smoke, a trend that will continue with warmer, drier weather expected in the coming week.
The Upper McKenzie Community Center hosted a potluck dinner and honored firefighters Friday night, Sept. 22. Members of the community expressed genuine gratitud...e for the efforts made by the Alaska Team and fire crews to protect their homes. The Snake River Valley Hand Crew #9 of Vale Oregon was treated to a wonderful homemade dinner with ice cream sundaes.
Unusual fire weather arrived at the Hoodoo Incident Command Post. Snow that fell Monday and Tuesday presented difficulties for fire managers camped in the surro...unding area. Cold temperatures, rain and snow slowed fire activitiy but challenged firefighters and overhead staff to stay warm and dry.
#HorseCreekComplex #AvenueFire #RebelFire #NashFire #SeparationFire #WillametteWildfires