About Mountain Fire containment is 100% – all female McGrath warehouse crew thanked for support

Acres: 2,179     Containment: 100% Personnel assigned: 35

Pioneer Peak Hotshots worked along the Kuskokwim River yesterday mopping up the remaining areas of heat along the fireline. At the end of shift, Type 3 Incident Commander Pat Johnson stated that #AboutMountainFire was 100% contained. There is still work for Pioneer Peak and the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operator to do as they identify and plot out seek and destroy missions over the weekend. If an area of heat is lingering in the interior that the drone can identify, the hotshots will consider cutting it open and exposing it so as to eliminate any concern with interior flare ups should hot and dry weather return.

A reconnaissance flight yesterday afternoon included a Pioneer Peak Type 4 Incident Commander trainee, who is set to assume command of the fire on Monday. A GIS mapping specialist reviewed the fire perimeter and noted that the more accurate acreage is 2,179, up 44 acres from the previously released estimate of 2,135 acres. Firefighters will need to remain vigilant when gridding for dangerous ash pits, as well as any remaining thick and complex areas of spruce.

While the firefighters cut and built firelilne that protected McGrath, behind the scenes at the McGrath DNR Fire Warehouse, a crew of five experienced women have been ensuring that the supply chain is always fully stocked and on time. From pumps to hose, chainsaws to fuel, medical supplies to mapping products, these women ensure that shipments by boat or helicopter are ready for delivery. On behalf of the fire crews, smoke jumpers and support personnel, we extend a Thank You to Edna, Amy, Richelle, Marty and April. Here is a little background for each of these impressive and experienced women.

Edna Osborne first worked on fires in 1988 when women were finally allowed to go out on crews, rising to the rank of crew boss. A mother of five and a member of the Blackfeet Tribe. Edna was born and raised on the Blackfoot Reservation in Browning Mt. With a passion for logistics, Edna rose to become a fully qualified Receiving and Distribution Manager (RCDM). “This is my first deployment to Alaska and I am loving the people and the environment. It is beautiful thank you all for welcoming me to your beautiful State.”

April Curial is originally from California, and has lived in McGrath for almost 11 years. This is her first year working in the McGrath Warehouse. When asked about the job and lifestyle of being involved with wildland fire support, April replied “I love it”.

Marty Runkle was on the 1978 Bearcreek Fire and has traveled Alaska and the lower 48 with the Nikolai EFF crew. Marty has been a part of the McGrath fire family for many years and has worked in the kitchen, with housing and now the as a part of the warehouse crew.

Amy Chisholm began her fire career in 1986 flying into villages in southwest to sign on type 2 crew members during fire busts. She worked on local village crews from 1987-1991 rising to the rank of squad boss in 1992. Amy maintains her Squad Boss qualification to this day, and has worked at the McGrath Warehouse as Receiving and Distribution Manager (RCDM) since 1992. She has traveled around Alaska and the lower 48 on fires and for enjoyment saying. “Every assignment is different and exciting and I have met many people and made many friends. I consider the McGrath fire personnel as my ‘other’ family and I know I’m not the only one that feels that way. I love my job!”

Richelle Vanderpool’s numerous friends call her “Agoo”. She began working for DNR when she turned 18. Richelle spent her first years working as camp crew, with the warehouse staff and at airports as a fixed wing ramp support specialist. Having moved away from McGrath for a few years, Richelle moved back in 2019 and after two years as a trainee has become a fully qualified Receiving and Distribution Manager. Congrats Richelle!


Categories: Active Wildland Fire, AK Fire Info, Alaska DNR - Division of Forestry (DOF)

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