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State extends fire season

 This summer has been full of wildfires throughout Alaska. Numerous firefighting teams have been called up from the lower United States to help in the fight. One of the teams that have joined in the fight is a local team, the Alaska Army National Guard. Using 2 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and Bambi-Buckets the Alaska Army National Guard teams have been performing fire fighting missions in coordination with the Bureau of Land Management, Fire Services based out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska. On Friday June 26 the team flew their aircraft down to Tok, Alaska to assist in fighting a few large fires in the area. Using internal aircraft communications the crew chief Sgt Philip Peter talked to the pilots CW4 Nyle Harrison and CW2 Molly Reque to guide them onto ponds, from that point the crew used the Bambi-Bucket to gather around 800 gallons of water and fly to the selected area of the fire to extinguish the flames in that location. The dropping of the water could be controlled by either the pilots or the crew chief. The teams worked with the fire mission flight controller, who circled the area in a plane and guided both the helicopters and skimmer aircraft onto flare up areas. Both the helicopters and skimmers took turns bombarding the fire filled trees with water until they reached their flight time limits. <br />Photos by Sherman Hogue/Fort Wainwright PAO
This summer has been full of wildfires throughout Alaska. Numerous firefighting teams have been called up from the lower United States to help in the fight. One of the teams that have joined in the fight is a local team, the Alaska Army National Guard. Using 2 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and Bambi-Buckets the Alaska Army National Guard teams have been performing fire fighting missions in coordination with the Bureau of Land Management, Fire Services based out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska. On Friday June 26 the team flew their aircraft down to Tok, Alaska to assist in fighting a few large fires in the area. Using internal aircraft communications the crew chief Sgt Philip Peter talked to the pilots CW4 Nyle Harrison and CW2 Molly Reque to guide them onto ponds, from that point the crew used the Bambi-Bucket to gather around 800 gallons of water and fly to the selected area of the fire to extinguish the flames in that location. The dropping of the water could be controlled by either the pilots or the crew chief. The teams worked with the fire mission flight controller, who circled the area in a plane and guided both the helicopters and skimmer aircraft onto flare up areas. Both the helicopters and skimmers took turns bombarding the fire filled trees with water until they reached their flight time limits. <br />Photos by Sherman Hogue/Fort Wainwright PAO (KTVF)
Published: Aug. 26, 2019 at 4:18 PM AKDT
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The Department of Natural Resources has extended Alaska's statutory wildfire season till the end of September. The season, which normally runs from April 1 till August 31, was extended a month due to extreme weather conditions.

Unusually warm and dry conditions in Southcentral Alaska are helping to fuel multiple fires in the area. The McKinley fire burned 51 homes and the Swan Lake fire has been burning for over two and a half months in the Kenai Peninsula.

The extension means that open debris burning and the use of burn barrels will require a burn permit through September 30.

The Kenai Peninsula and Matanuska-Susitna borough remain under an emergency burn closure.

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