While wet weather initially delayed the start of the fire season in places like Arizona and New Mexico, the 2010 fire season is now well underway. According to a report from KTUU, 530 people were battling the Eagle Trail Fire near the village of Tanacross in eastern Alaska which caused the hurried evacuation of over 500 residents. The fire, now only 15% contained, was started last Wednesday by a lightning strike. A Red Flag Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service due to additional dry thunderstorms forecast in the region this week.
(Photo by Susan Stancliff.) The Eagle Trail fire near Tok blew up again Thursday during hot and dry daytime conditions.
Of the 14 active fires burning right now across the United States, Alaska is home to eight of them. You can track their progress here at the U.S. Forest Service Active Large Incident Map as well as follow additional large scale wildfires throughout the season.
Additionally, detailed status information can be found on a cool site called InciWeb, which is an interagency all-risk incident information management system. The system was developed with two primary missions:
- Provide the public a single source of incident related information
- Provide a standardized reporting tool for the Public Affairs community
A number of supporting systems automate the delivery of incident information to remote sources. This ensures that the information regarding active incidents is consistent, and the delivery is timely.
The site offers news, announcements, maps, and even photographs from the front lines like this one (above right) from the Eagle Trail fire.
Meanwhile in California, joint training exercises between CalFire, the California National Guard, The U.S. Marines and the U.S. Navy have been taking place. Coordinating an aerial assault with several different agencies with differently trained pilots and personnel can be daunting, but scenario training such as this helps ensure a safe and efficient mitigation of any large scale incident involving numerous agencies and entities.
As the season progresses, we wish all of our wildland firefighters great health and safety as they risk their lives over and over during grueling conditions. They are excellent representatives of the U.S. Fire Service!