General aviation aircraft and the public may observe up to five aerial firefighting aircraft simultaneously training over Wishbone Hill above the Jonesville Mine/Sutton between 11:00 and 5:00 pm today. There will be no wildfire on the landscape during the training. The pilots will practice what you see in the photos that were taken during an initial attack last year in the Yukon by DOF’s Air Attack Officer Tim Whitesell. One rotor wing aircraft is planning to land with firefighters and deploy a bucket from the Jonesville airstrip around noon. Aircraft will be departing from and returning to the Palmer Base. Information for civilian pilots should be available for aviators on the Palmer ATIS frequency. General aviation aircraft should be aware and prepared to avoid the area of Wishbone Hill (on the VFR sectional map) to avoid fire aircraft traffic. These exercises give both the pilots, firefighters and support personnel the chance to train for initial attack as if there was a wildfire on the landscape.
The State of Alaska has a cross-border “splash and dash” agreement with Canada
to provide aerial assistance with wildfire suppression, if resources are available.
Last year, Air Tanker 540 based in Palmer and lead plane ASM A4 made the 1-hour flight to Dawson and dropped three loads of retardant around the Bell Creek Fire burning about 12 miles southwest of Dawson. The tanker and lead plane flew back across the border to the Tanacross Tanker Base to reload and refuel following the first drop and the tanker made two more drops to help buy more time for the Yukoners to get ground forces in place. ASM A4 also served as the lead plane for a Yukon Electra P3 air tanker that was making drops on the fire. Each aircraft has a specialized purpose and with the risk of a catastrophic accident always a possibility, training and coordination is crucial.
As a reminder, burn permits are required from April 1 through August 31. You can pick up a burn permit online at https://dnr.alaska.gov/burn or pick them up at your local forestry office and at many local fire departments.
#FireYear2022 #AlaskaWildfire #2022AlaskaFireSeason