Warehouse preparing equipment for use on future fires
This summer, more than 606 miles of hose was used on fires throughout Alaska. That’s more than the distance between Fairbanks and Homer (580 miles). All that hose needs to be cleaned, inspected for leaks and rolled back up before it can be used again on fires in the Lower 48 or next year in Alaska.
Even though the fire season is ending in Alaska, there’s still plenty of work remaining for the BLM Alaska Fire Service Warehouse Cache. This year, 1.9 million pounds of equipment, valued at $25.8 million, was issued through the warehouse at BLM AFS facilities on Fort Wainwright.
A large portion of what goes out, comes back in through the warehouse, and refurbished so it can be used again either in Alaska or in the Lower 48. Time is running out because the borrowed equipment will need to be shipped back to the Lower 48 before the Alaska winter sets in.
The Alaska Fire Service Warehouse Cache is home to one of six National Type I Fire Caches in the nation. It provides supplies and equipment for all fire suppression and fire management operations in coordination with other statewide agencies such as the State of Alaska, cadastral survey, BLM Field Offices, and Defense Logistics Agency. They also coordinate supply operations with the other 14 national Fire Caches. Several truck loads of equipment was shipped up from the Lower 48 to support Alaska fires.
The Cache hired additional people in Alaska and brought other warehouse workers from the Lower 48 to help move equipment in and out to support fires this long fire season. With the exception of the Swan Lake and the McKinley fires, all of the equipment has been returned. This includes 181 miles of hose used on fires within the Chalkyitsik Complex in northeast Alaska, some of which was used to protect the remote village of Chalkyitsik located 169 miles northeast of Fairbanks.
Also issued this year were:
- 918 pump kits, both Mark III and lightweight pumps
- 465 chainsaw kits
- 10,673 meals ready to eat, or otherwise known as MRs
- 14,694 5-gallon water cubies for a total of 73,472.5 gallons of drinking water for firefighters.
- 4,233 5-gallon cans of premix fuel for chainsaws and pumps for a total of 21,265 gallons.
- $12.5 million dollars of inventory was trucked up from Lower 48 caches in support of Alaska fires.
- Current Cache inventory value is $16.2 million
This year, 722 fires burned an estimated almost 2.6 million acres in Alaska. That’s more than half of the total acres burned for entire country (4.3 million).
However, the fire season is not over in the Lower 48. The BLM AFS Cache often returns the favor and sends equipment south to help with busy fire seasons if needed in the Lower 48.
~ Story, photos, and video by Beth Ipsen, BLM AFS public affairs specialist.
Categories: AK Fire Info