(Fairbanks, AK) – There are benefits to having a good neighbor. A fleet of six Air Tractor, AT-802, “Fire Boss” single-engine tankers arrived in Palmer on Saturday; with their Bird Dog, which serves as a spotter plane and leads the scoopers safely through their drop patterns. Arriving from Conair Aerial Firefighting in British Columbia, the pilots were briefed, their planes inspected and the tanks cleaned. The group heads to McGrath where 45 active fires are burning more than 200,000 acres in southwest Alaska.
The Fire Boss is an incredibly versatile firefighting resource, as it can leave an oil tanker base with a charge of fire retardant and, after dropping the retardant, continue to draw water from rivers and lakes. It takes about 15 seconds to fill its 820 gallon tank as it skims the surface. With a nearby water source, a tank truck can deliver up to 14,000 gal. one o’clock. A group of six people working together on their 3 hour fuel cycle can provide plenty of water.
The planes were ordered under the Northwest Wildland Fire Protection Agreement, a cooperative agreement between the Alaska DNR – Division of Forestry (DOF) and 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 wildfire prevention, preparedness, prescribed fire use, training, wildfire pre-suppression, suppression and control assistance between agencies members. Already this year, more than 30 firefighters from Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Idaho and Oregon have come to Alaska via the pact to support suppression efforts.
On Sunday, a charter flight organized by the National Interagency Coordination Center in Boise, ID, will arrive at Ladd Field in Fort Wainwright with five T1 Interagency Hotshot crews approved for a 21-day mission. Zigzag and Rogue River hotspots are assigned to the East Fork Fire (160) near St. Mary’s. The Union and Winema hotspots will be assigned to fires managed by state forests. Entiat Hotshots will be awarded by BLM-Alaska Fire Service.
Categories: AK Fire Info