5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Monday, 17 November 2003
Wildland Urban Interface Hazard Reduction in Interior Alaska—Challenges, Partnerships and Success
Mary Kwart, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tok, AK
Wildland Urban Interface Hazard reduction activities in Interior Alaska pose unique challenges for land managers. Villages requiring hazard reduction are remote. Subsistence lifestyles and traditions must be woven into the equation. Extremely cold winter temperatures and short summers make achieving targets based on areas with more temperate weather, difficult. Precedents for this type of activity within Interior Alaska Villages are non-existent. Multiple agency jurisdictions within small areas complicate planning.

In this environment the BLM Alaska Fire Service and the Tetlin Wildlife Refuge have successfully implemented hazard reduction projects at two villages—Tanacross and Northway. These villages are not far from the Canadian border, near the Alaska Highway. The poster explores methods employed by the two agencies to successfully plan and implement hand mechanical thinning projects using the traditional Emergency Firefighting Crews that exist in many Alaskan villages. Project formulation from the partnership forming stage with Village Councils and other Federal Agencies to illustrations of problem solving during implementation will be addressed.

Also, monitoring thinning effects in the black spruce/feathermoss vegetation type poses its own challenges—such as, learning how to adapt monitoring schemes developed in much different vegetation types so that information useful to Alaskan fire and fuels managers (like change in permafrost depth or seasonal drying trends for moss) can be acquired. The poster will touch on some preliminary results from this monitoring.

Supplementary URL: