Support from Lower 48, Canada are key to Alaska firefighting efforts

Normally, it’s tourists who flock to Alaska from the Lower 48 in the summer. This year, it’s been firefighters and other firefighting personnel.
With Alaska on pace to set a new record for the number of acres burned by wildfires, the state has had to reach out to Lower 48 states for resources to supplement its firefighting workforce – and it’s required a long arm
As of Wednesday, more than 3,500 firefighting personnel from 44 different states have traveled to Alaska to help with the firefighting effort in the Last Frontier this summer, according to information from the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center on Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks.

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That number includes more than 2,000 firefighters on crews from 18 different states, as well as nine different Type 2 incident management teams. In addition, the state has imported everything from dispatchers to fire behavior experts to finance specialists to public information officers to helicopter managers to safety officers to heavy equipment bosses to security guards to all sorts of other support personnel.
The only states that have not sent personnel to Alaska at this point are Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
Not surprisingly, the most fire-prone states in the Lower 48 are the ones that have provided the most help. Montana has sent the most personnel (456) to Alaska so far this summer, followed closely by Idaho (439), California (361), Colorado (298), New Mexico (261), Arizona (245), Oregon (173), Washington (164), Utah (148) and Nevada (139).

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A total of 102 20-person fire crews have come to Alaska, mostly hotshot and Type 2 initial attack crews, to supplement the 49 Alaskan crews. Oregon has sent the most crews (22) north, followed by Montana (14), Idaho (11) and California (10).
And it’s not over yet. Another jet load of five Type 1 hotshot crews are scheduled to arrive in Fairbanks on Saturday from Idaho, Oregon and Utah to replace five crews that are being demobilized.
The Alaska Division o f Forestry would like to thank all the states that have assisted with firefighting efforts in Alaska this summer. We couldn’t have done it without your help.

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Here’s a list of the personnel numbers from different states that have traveled to Alaska this summer, along with photos of different shirts from different states that have been spotted working in Alaska this summer.
Alaska – 2,035
Alabama – 5
Arkansas – 21
Arizona – 245
California – 361
Colorado – 298
Connecticut – 1
Washington, D.C. – 4
Florida – 24
Georgia – 19
Idaho – 439
Illinois – 8
Indiana – 5
Kansas – 6
Kentucky – 50
Louisiana – 8
Massachusetts – 1
Maryland – 6
Maine – 1
Michigan – 18
Minnesota – 89
Missouri – 17
Mississippi – 8
Montana – 456
North Carolina – 59
North Dakota – 16
Nebraska – 6
New Hampshire – 9
New Mexico – 261
Nevada – 139
New York – 4
Ohio – 4
Oklahoma – 2
Oregon – 173
Pennsylvania – 65
South Carolina – 4
South Dakota – 45
Tennnessee – 18
Texas – 27
Utah – 148
Virginia – 24
Vermont – 2
Washington – 164
Wisconsin – 42
West Virginia – 6
Wyoming – 161
Total – 5504


Alberta – 20
British Columbia – 34

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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