Refuge Protects Seniors and Disabled
IIn October 2008, the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry joined forces to help protect local senior and disabled citizens from wildfire in Tok, Alaska. Work around homes removed heavy vegetation which could have been a direct path for fire from the natural area to the buildings.
The cooperative effort was a response to needs identified by residents in a community wildfire protection plan for this eastern Alaskan town near the Canadian border. The project not only increased the chances for the homes to survive a wildfire, it improved safety and access for firefighters and provided a fuel source for the local community.
Beginning in late October, crews also thinned vegetation along access routes for vehicles. Firewood generated by the project was made available to residents. Smaller pieces of wood and brush leftover from the project will be chipped by the Division of Forestry, to be used in the future as fuel for a high efficiency wood-fired boiler system at the Tok School.
By the end of 2008, work was completed around eight homes before weather conditions halted efforts temporarily. Work at seventeen additional homes is scheduled to be done when the weather becomes more favorable and prior to the upcoming fire season.
An interagency partner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources discusses Firewise improvements with a homeowner during a project the Service and State of Alaska sponsored.
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