Moving the firefighter train

April 28, 2015 10:21 a.m.

A U.S. Navy Admiral is known to have said, “I don’t know what the hell this ‘logistics’ is that Marshall is always talking about, but I want some of it.” That quote probably still holds for the military but you may not know that it also holds for others, including firefighters…especially firefighters in Alaska.

Each year, fire season comes to Alaska. And each year firefighters descend upon the state to fight wildland fires. Alaska Fire Service (AFS) is responsible fire suppression services for 194 million acres within its protection area while also providing interagency support to partner agencies in other parts of the state and the Lower 48. Firefighters and other support personnel use a lot of resources to fight fires: firefighter gear, clothing, tents, food, water, transportation, maintenance and other important items to survive in the Alaska wildland for weeks at a time. The AFS Logistic Operations Branch is the place to call.

Among other things, the Branch operates a warehouse, called the AFS Fire Cache, that has over $16 million worth of inventory. the Cache is one of several National Fire Caches that are located throughout the U.S. to support wildland fire operations.

In 2013, approximately 1,062,000 pounds of firefighting supplies were shipped: fire resistant pants and shirts, other personal protective gear, water containers, fresh food kits, pumps, hose, chainsaws, shovels, axes and pulaskis, the main tool of the firefighter. The total value of the supplies was over $12.6 million. As of September of that year, over $9.8 million worth of items had been returned from use in the field. the remaining items would come in during the months that followed. Some of the items are consumed during use and will not return but most are cleaned, tested, repackaged and put back into service for the next round of fires.

The Logistic Operations Branch also provides logistical support to the AFS and the Fairbanks District Office (FDO) in the areas of administrative facility maintenance, small engine repair, warehouse, property management, ground transportation support. Housing and Dining Hall support is provided on a reimbursable basis to FDO personnel and other cooperators, including the military.

Now I know a little about what this logistics is, and I want some of it!


About afsakfireinfo

The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (AFS) located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, provides wildland fire suppression services for over 240 million acres of Department of the Interior and Native Corporation Lands in Alaska. In addition, AFS has other statewide responsibilities that include: interpretation of fire management policy; oversight of the BLM Alaska Aviation program; fuels management projects; and operating and maintaining advanced communication and computer systems such as the Alaska Lightning Detection System. AFS also maintains a National Incident Support Cache with over $15 million in inventory. The Alaska Fire Service provides wildland fire suppression services for America’s “Last Frontier” on an interagency basis with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Military in Alaska.

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