Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
TETLIN: Refuge Helps Fireproof Homes of Those in Need
Alaska Region, January 23, 2009
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Firewise assessment of Tok home 10/2008  John Grafft
Firewise assessment of Tok home 10/2008 John Grafft - Photo Credit: n/a

In October, 2008 Tetlin Refuge and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry removed brush and trees from around the homes of elderly or disabled people in rural Tok, Alaska, to reduce the risk of damage from wildfire.  This effort was planned in the 2007 Tok Community Wildland Fire Protection Plan to protect the community from wildfire.  In addition to reducing vulnerability of homes to catastrophic fire, this clearing will enable evacuation of at-risk citizens if needed.

Work began on brushing, tree thinning and pruning around homes and access routes with firewood from the project donated to residents.  Additional biomass from the thinning was stored at the Division of Forestry to be chipped used as fuel for a high efficiency wood-fired boiler system planned for the Tok School.

Work around eight homes began late October and was completed by Christmas.  Work was suspended in January due to severe weather (including -80 degree temperatures) but 17 more homes are scheduled to be treated prior to the upcoming fire season.

Benefits from this cooperative effort include safety and peace of mind for elderly or disabled, a safer working environment for firefighters working the urban interface, and conversion of a public hazard into a carbon neutral fuel source for the local community.

Contact Info: Peter Butteri, 907-456-0361, peter_butteri@fws.gov
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