Hotshot crews and additional firefighting aircraft arriving in Alaska

(Fairbanks, AK) – There are benefits to having a good neighbor. A fleet of six, Air Tractor, AT-802, “Fire Boss” single-engine, water scooping tankers arrived in Palmer on Saturday; along with their Bird Dog, which serves as a spotter plane and leads the scoopers safely into their drop patterns. Arriving from Conair Aerial Firefighing in British Columbia, the pilots have been briefed, their aircraft inspected and the tanks cleaned. The group is headed to McGrath where 45 active fires are burning more than 200,000 acres across southwest Alaska.

The Fire Boss is an incredibly versatile firefighting resource, as it can depart a tanker base with a load of fire retardant, and after dropping the retardant, continue to scoop water out of rivers and lakes. It takes approximately 15 seconds to fill its 820-gallon tank as it skims across the surface. With a nearby water source, a tanker can deliver up to 14,000 gal. an hour. A group of six working together for their 3-hour fuel cycle can deliver a lot of water.

The aircraft were ordered through the Northwest Wildland Fire Protection Agreement, a cooperative agreement the Alaska DNR- Division of Forestry (DOF) has with five Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and Yukon) and four western states (Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington). Also known as the Northwest Compact, the agreement provides assistance in prevention, preparedness, prescribed fire use, training, pre-suppression, suppression, and control of wildland fires between the member agencies. Already this year, more than 30 firefighters from Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Idaho and Oregon have come to Alaska via the compact to support suppression efforts.

Sunday a charter flight arranged by the National Interagency Coordination Center in Boise, ID, will arrive at Ladd Field on Fort Wainwright with five T1 Interagency Hotshot crews approved for a 21 day assignment. The Zigzag and Rogue River hotshots are assigned to the East Fork Fire (160) near St. Mary’s. Union and Winema hotshots will be assigned to state forestry-managed fires. Entiat Hotshots will be assigned by BLM-Alaska Fire Service.

Categories: AK Fire Info

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