Firefighting in the wilds of Alaska

The crew prepares for the day’s assignment with an operational briefing.

By Cody Norris

Two 20-person crews have returned to Missouri from a two-week assignment fighting wildfires in Alaska.  

Timothy Perren was the crew-leader for one of those crews and took the time to share some of the highlights of the exciting and rugged work his crew did on their assignment as they fought wildfire “North to the future” (Alaska’s state motto).

Fighting fire in Alaska is very different, the terrain is rough, it is a different forest type — mostly black spruce with some aspen where these crews were — and staying alert for grizzly bears combined with a never-setting sun are challenges these firefighters don’t face at home.

Perren serves as a zone fuels specialist for Mark Twain National Forest — a type of wildland firefighter position that focuses on fire prevention and ecological restoration through prescribed burning.   

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