Fires are a natural part of the environmental cycle, but each year wildfires threaten to destroy property and resources around rural communities in Alaska. Last year’s fire season impacted many Interior communities with heavy smoke and widespread fires near villages.
Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) can provide supplies and support during times of need by coordinating with both state and federal agencies. TCC has always been willing to assist our tribes during emergency situations. Preparation before wildfires begin will ensure life and property are protected and health and safety are maintained.
To report an Alaska Wildland fire call 1-800-237-3633 or 911.
Protect Yourself & Your Family
Preparing for fires now can help save time and property later. TCC recommends the following guidelines for protecting your loved ones and your home during this wildfire season.
- Have your emergency kit (“go-bag”) ready if you need to shelter in place at your home or move to a different area in your community. Remember to include food, water and medications.
- Limit your exposure to smoke by staying indoors whenever possible with windows closed. Use air conditioners if possible, to limit smoky air in the home.
- Know your community’s emergency plans, and follow the plan guidance. Find out if your community has a “clean room” for sensitive groups during severe smoke events.
- Plan to stay at home unless an evacuation is called for. Have activities on hand to occupy children and books or movies to keep adults entertained for long periods indoors.
- Remember to plan for visitors who might be in your village during wildfire season.
- N95 or similar respirators/masks are designed to filter out particles in the air. Using a mask will reduce airflow and can make breathing difficult, so use with caution.
- If it is too hot to stay indoors with the windows closed and you do not have an air conditioner, seek shelter elsewhere.
- Check out local air quality reports or visibility guides. AK Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Division of Air Quality publishes Air Quality Advisories. The Fairbanks North Star Borough publishes an Air Quality Index with information about smoke, cautionary statements and health statements. You can also monitor local village visibility by consulting the FAA Aviation Weather Cameras.
Protect your Property, Protect the Land
Before wildfire seasons begins, clear out dead vegetation and other flammable items within 30 feet of your home and outhouses, garages or sheds. This includes stacked wood and propane tanks. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house or other buildings.
- Dry grass and brush are fuel for wildfires. Cut it down.
- Know your community’s plans for working with fire response agencies so you will know what to expect during a wildfire.
- Follow any instructions given from local leadership or fire response personnel about property management during wildfires.