The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (BLM AFS) awarded three contracts for additional Type 2 wildland firefighting hand crews based in Western Alaska villages. The contractors selected will base crews in the Galena Fire Management Zone that covers most of Western Alaska.
The contracts were awarded to:
- Fairbanks-based Tanana Chiefs Conference with assembly points in Shageluk, Grayling, Anvik, and Holy Cross. Shagaluk is within Alaska Division of Forestry protection area but close to the other villages.
- Nulato Hills Enterprises, LLC based in Nulato with assembly points in Kaltag, Nulato, Koyukuk, Galena, and Ruby.
- California-based Capstone Fire and Safety Management with assembly points in St. Mary’s, Marshall, Mountain Village and Pilot Station.
This brings the total number of Type 2 contact crews in Alaska to six for quick response to fires throughout the BLM AFS protection area that covers about 191.5 million acres in the northern half of the state.
Last year, the BLM AFS awarded three contracts for Type 2 crews based in the Upper Yukon and Tanana Fire Management Zones. These crews were mobilized an average of 61 days in 2020 for fires in Alaska and the Lower 48. All three crews are currently in the Western U.S. helping with a busy fire season. After a successful inaugural year, BLM AFS looked to expand the program into the Galena Zone.
Unlike federal emergency firefighter (EFF) crews that are hired on an as-needed basis, contracted crews allow for work outside of fire suppression, such as fuels mitigation and other funded projects. Contract crews may also provide more stable employment than the prior EFF program. The contract crews will adhere to national qualifications for Type 2 hand crews and can be ordered for wildfire response in Alaska and the Lower 48.
Considering the changing requirements for EFFs, the contract crew concept intends to meet the need for Type 2 wildland firefighting crews available for response in Alaska and the Lower 48. The solicitation was a competitive process for qualified entities to ensure viable crews are available when called upon.
The contract crews will not be a part of the statewide state Type 2 EFF crew rotation. Because there are not enough remaining qualified EFF responders in regions that were not awarded contacts, the BLM AFS will not administer the Type 2 EFF Crew program.
For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.