June 29 – The BLM Alaska Fire Service warns aviators of the uptick of air traffic near Allakaket and Bettles as firefighting aircraft are flying in support of fires burning in the Koyukuk River Basin. Pilots should check the Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) for information about aircraft operations and if possible, avoid flying over areas near fires that are burning to the west of Bettles and Allakaket. A mixture of fixed and rotor wing aircraft are flying to aid firefighting efforts – whether they are shuttling cargo or people, making paracargo drops of supplies or dropping water – for a number of fires burning in the region. A variety of airplanes, including two large water scooping CL-415s and the smaller water scooping Fire Boss airplanes, are parked at Bettles in support of the Alatna Complex and other fires burning west of Bettles. Other aircraft are in Allakaket to directly support the complex’s five fires that are burning on the western side of the Koyukuk River that separates the villages of Allakaket and Alatna. Allakaket is about 35 miles southwest of Bettles. Air traffic between Fairbanks and Allakaket will also increase in the upcoming days as the BLM Alaska Fire Service steps up a Type 3 incident management operation to provide a framework for the safe and efficient transition from the initial attack efforts to the extended fire protection mode.
For more information, contact the BLM Alaska Fire Service at (907)356-5511.