Sept. 2, 2016 – Five 20-person rural Alaska Emergency Firefighter (EFF) crews headed south late last week to help work on a handful of wildland fires burning in the Lower 48. Two crews from Chevak and one each from Hooper Bay, Kaltag and Huslia first landed in California near where the Alaska Interagency Management Team took command of the Soboranas Fire on Aug. 26. The two Chevak crews and the Huslia crew were first tasked on Aug. 28 with repairing some of the suppression work that occurred on the fire that has burned about 94,736 acres since it started on July 22. The Kaltag and Hooper Bay crews waited nearby for their assignments. Then on Aug. 30, all five crews moved to the Great Basin region that includes Utah, Nevada, Idaho south of the Salmon River, the western Wyoming mountains and the Arizona Strip. They were each sent to different districts to be available when new fires started. The two Chevak crews were in Twin Falls, Idaho and then moved today to work on the the Grape Fire which is located five miles southwest of Elba, Idaho. Meanwhile, the Kaltag crew is in Boise with a Task Force made up of engines and crews in anticipation of initial attack needs on new fires in the area. The Hooper Bay crew went to Eureka, Nevada to work on a project before also being tasked on Tuesday with responding to new fires in the area. Huslia was staged in Winnemucca, Nevada, but was sent to a new fire that started nearby today.
The Chevak and Hooper Bay crews are Alaska Division of Forestry crews and Kaltag and Huslia are sponsored by the BLM-Alaska Fire Service’s Galena Fire Management Zone. So far, they are the only Type 2 EFF crews that have been sent south for fires.
For more information, contact Beth Ipsen, BLM Alaska Fire Service public affairs specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org.