Alaska firefighters help with Lower 48 fires
Hundreds of Alaska firefighters are in the Lower 48 to help combat dozens of wildfires.
A U.S. Wildfire Information map showed 75 major fires burning in eight states including Washington, Oregon and Montana.
Alaska is gearing up to send its sixth jet-load of firefighters on Wednesday.
The Alaska Division of Forestry currently has more than 300 personnel on the ground, most of whom are in Montana and Oregon.
The Pioneer Peak Interagency Hotshot Crew from Palmer just wrapped up work on the Lolo Peak Fire outside Missoula, Montana. They had a few days of rest and are now on their way to the Caribou Fire near Eureka, Montana.
The Eclipse Complex Fire has grown to 87,000 acres in northern California. Firefighters from Chevak, Allakaket, Arctic Village and Venetie are there to help.
In Oregon, the North Umpqua Complex has burned 30,000 acres near Roseburg. Crews from Fairbanks, Lower Kalskag, Upper Tanana and Nikolai are on the lines.
The Alaska Fire Service public affairs specialist said firefighters here are usually wrapping up operations this time of year and would be headed to the Lower 48 anyway. This year their help is needed more than ever.
“When we have a roaring fire season we actually ask for help from the Lower 48. This year we had a lower than average fire season, we had some booster smoke jumpers come up but that was pretty much it,” Beth Ipsen explained. “This is quite an unusual year for the Lower 48.”