|Subscribe | What is RSS|
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Reduces Wildfire Risk and Serves Alaskan Community
Copper Center, Alaska—The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve's headquarters hazard fuels project is well underway. National Park Service and Southeast Alaska Guidance Association crew members began thinning vegetation on August 30th, 2010 to reduce the risk of eventual wildland fire and provide for firefighter and public safety. The project aims to thin vegetation and create defensible space around structures where fire poses an unacceptable threat to property and resources.
National Park Service Fire Management and Southeast Alaska Guidance Association (SAGA) crew members have treated approximately 4 acres of the project area, some of which had tree densities of 6,000 trees/acre. This project is not a "clear cut", rather a thinning of vegetation surrounding the headquarters roads, buildings, and parking area. Serve Alaska Corp, SAGA crewmembers, aim to use the hazard fuels project as an avenue to explore career paths, seek leadership experience, and serve Alaskan communities. SAGA crew members have already donated more than 80 hours of service since the beginning of the project.
Larger trees cut thus far during the project have been donated as firewood to four Ahtna elders in the Copper River community through the Copper River Native Association (CRNA). James Sabon of CRNA discussed how the donation of cut spruce from the hazard fuels project gives elders access to resources needed to warm their homes during harsh winters and for use during ceremonial customs. Sabon remarked, "My grandparents taught me to help other people out. You never know . . . one day you might need some help." NPS will continue to work with CRNA to prioritize the needs of the Ahtna elders for firewood donation.
Wrangell-St. Elias staff invites the local community, visitors, and media to come observe the hazard fuels project and learn how to live compatibly with wildfire. National Park Service staff will be available to explain the project and Firewise techniques to reduce fire risk to your home, property, and community. Visitors are strongly encouraged to inquire with park staff to find out about safe and restricted viewing areas. The first phase of the project will be completed by September 30th, 2010.
For additional information regarding the headquarters hazard fuels project, please visit the https://www.nps.gov/wrst/parkmgmt/fuels-hq-project.htm website, or contact:
Mark Keogh, Public Information Officer, 907-822-7223 or Katie Budzinski, Public Information Officer, 907-699-2268.