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ALASKA FIRE MANAGEMENT: Fighting fire – and the spread of invasives
Alaska Region, June 10, 2011
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Washed and Ready – The CL 215 above can scoop up to 1,400 gallons of water from the surface of a lake in about 10 seconds.  Affectionately known as “ducks” these planes are an important tool for fighting wildland fires in Alaska. USFWS Photo
Washed and Ready – The CL 215 above can scoop up to 1,400 gallons of water from the surface of a lake in about 10 seconds. Affectionately known as “ducks” these planes are an important tool for fighting wildland fires in Alaska. USFWS Photo - Photo Credit: n/a
Alaska Fire Service Ramp personnel power rinsing tanks.
Alaska Fire Service Ramp personnel power rinsing tanks. - Photo Credit: n/a

Alaska Fire Service Ramp rinsing overflow vent.
Alaska Fire Service Ramp rinsing overflow vent. - Photo Credit: n/a

Before water-scooping planes and helicopter buckets are put to work on Alaska fires this summer, their tanks and buckets are getting a thorough power washing. The cleaning, with water heated to at least 140 degrees, is intended to help minimize the potential for the spread of invasive aquatics from the Lower 48 and Canada to Alaska’s lakes.

 

“It is fairly inexpensive and it doesn’t take very much time. It’s a good solution to the concerns raised by resource managers,” said Chip Houde, Aviation Manager with the Alaska Fire Service.

 

Biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were worried about the possible spread of invasive plants and animals from aquatic sources used by water-scooping aircraft and buckets brought in from outside Alaska to fight fires.

 

To address those concerns, a provision for cleaning buckets and scoopers was included in the wildland fire management agreement between federal agencies and the State of Alaska. The agreement, signed in 2010, emphasizes cooperation and planning in the use of shared fire resources and recognizes the agencies’ differing missions and mandates in fighting fire.

 

“This proactive measure will hopefully prevent issues we don’t need in Alaska,” said Doug Alexander, USFWS Regional Fire Management Coordinator for Alaska.

 

 

For more information contact Maureen Clark at (907)786-3469


Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, kristen_gilbert@fws.gov



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