This one minute video brings you right to the front lines of the Forward Operating Base of the 2019 Upper Yukon Flats wildfires. As fire crews have met their objectives of ensuring the protection of the Gwich’in villages of Beaver, Venetie and Chalkyitsik – along with numerous private cabins and Native allotments – the operation is now entirely focused on backhaul and demobilization. These video clips were filmed on iPhone by Helibase Manager Josh Hutchinson and Public Information Officer Kale Casey. The goal is to give you a transparent look into our front line operations and allow you to stand at the airstrip in Chalkyitsik and feel as if you were right there. It takes dozens of fire fighters and support drivers, pilots and supervisors to coordinate the airplanes, helicopters, river boats, ATVs and pickup trucks that make this scale of operation safe and successful.
When airplanes and helicopters land at the Chalkyitsik airstrip in the remote and roadless area 50 miles east of Ft Yukon, there is always a full load of fire personnel or support gear and supplies. All of the supplies that need to be flown back to Fairbanks including hose, pumps, empty fuel cans, crew gear, supplies and trash, is called “backhaul”. Great care is taken to make sure all of this backhaul is handled and transported properly from the remote crew camps along the extensive firelines to the boats, the boats to the vehicles, the vehicles to the airstrip and finally into the airplanes bound for Fairbanks.
Over the course of the incident, the highest priority for all fire personnel has been to ensure the protection of the Gwich’in village of Chalkyitsik, private cabins and Native allotments. Fire crews continue work to secure the line in the vicinity of Ohtig Lake working north along indirect lines. Mop up activities continue between the Draanjik River and Chahalie Lake along with point protection of structures and when possible allotments within the river corridor. Fire crews will support initial attack in the Upper Yukon Zone as requested and several new crews have been arriving to replace crew who have completed their 14 day tours and are heading home to rest and see their families.
INFO: KZPA 900 AM radio in Fort Yukon is airing information updates about the Chalkyitsik Complex
Video footage by Chalkyitsik Complex Helibase Manager Josh Hutchinson & footage and edit by PIO Kale Casey AKIMT/BLM AFS Alaska Fire Service
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Categories: AK Fire Info