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KOYUKUK NOWITNA/FIRE MANAGEMENT: Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Alaska Region, April 16, 2014
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Photo caption:  Members of Fish and Wildlife Refuge System staff, Fire Management Staff, and Alaska Fire Service Staff in Fairbanks in April following presentation of the award to BLM-AFS. L-R: Tracey McDonnell,  Refuge Supervisor; Ben Pratt, FWS FMO; Kent Slaughter, AFS Manager; Tom St. Clair, acting AFS FMO; Doug Downs, AFS FMO; Willie Branson, AFS AFMO; Kenton Moos, Refuge Manager; and Hudson Plass, Dispatcher.
Photo caption: Members of Fish and Wildlife Refuge System staff, Fire Management Staff, and Alaska Fire Service Staff in Fairbanks in April following presentation of the award to BLM-AFS. L-R: Tracey McDonnell, Refuge Supervisor; Ben Pratt, FWS FMO; Kent Slaughter, AFS Manager; Tom St. Clair, acting AFS FMO; Doug Downs, AFS FMO; Willie Branson, AFS AFMO; Kenton Moos, Refuge Manager; and Hudson Plass, Dispatcher. - Photo Credit: FWS Photo

It’s been said that, in times of disaster, friends and neighbors are often key to survival.

When flooding hit the Interior Alaska village of Galena in May 2013, it was a friend and neighbor that provided extraordinary assistance to the Koyukuk-Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is headquartered in the Yukon River village and as the flood waters rose the BLM-Alaska Fire Service stepped in to help.

The BLM-Alaska Fire Service Galena Zone facilities in the village are located within an area protected by a dike and were spared much of the damage that affected the refuge headquarters building and housing. As a result, the BLM-AFS Staff were able to provide assistance to their Fish and Wildlife Service colleagues.

The BLM-AFS dining hall in Galena normally feeds firefighters, smokejumpers, dispatchers and other fire personnel during the fire season. But, after the flood, the agency opened its facilities to feed refuge staff, volunteers, and others who arrived to help with clean up and rebuilding. In addition, BLM-AFS made space available on scheduled flights for personnel and materials to help the refuge rebuild.

“Without this partnership, work teams wouldn’t have been nearly as efficient and the added costs of shipping materials and people would have been significant,” said Mitch Ellis, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System in Alaska. “We’re very grateful for the help BLM-Alaska Fire Service provided.”


Tracey McDonnell, Refuge Supervisor and Kenton Moss, Koyukuk-Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge Manager, made the presentation to Kent Slaughter, Alaska Fire Service Manager.

In addition to receiving the Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director’s Teamwork and Partnership awards, the Refuge System honored AFS leadership at pre-season fire meetings in Fairbanks in April.


Contact Info: Maureen Clark, (907) 786-3469, Maureen_Clark@fws.gov



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