Assignment as a fire behavior analyst in Alaska
Document Type: Unpublished Work
Author(s): Robert C. Seli
Publication Year: 1999

Cataloging Information

  • CFFDRS - Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System
  • fire behavior analyst
  • firefighting personnel
  • Inowak Fire
  • weather forecast
  • wildland fire
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Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 29, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 6574


In early July of 1997, I was assigned to the Inowak Fire in southwest Alaska as a Fire Behavior Analyst (FBAN). The fire started late in June in a Limited Suppression Zone southwest of McGrath, but on July 4 and 5 it made major runs toward three native villages on the Kuskpokwim River. On July 6th, a short Type II team was put together from the overhead pool as Ft. Wainwright and arrived in the village of Red Devil on July 7th. The fire was then over 100,000 acres, but was at least 20 miles from any of the villages. Over the next 20 days, the fire grew to almost 500,000 acres, and the original 12-person team expanded to 300 firefighters in 3 camps. All firefighters from outside Alaska are initially sent to the 'pool' at Ft. Wainwright to await assignment and receive an excellent 'Alaska briefing'. This briefing covers everything from local culture to fire behavior, suppression strategy, and tactics. We were also issued a 'Handy-Dandy', a fireline handbook for Alaska, which proved to be invaluable. The following are some of the interesting and essential parts of the assignment from my view as an FBAN on the Inowak Fire.

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Link to this document (242 KB; pdf)
Seli, Robert C. 1999. Assignment as a fire behavior analyst in Alaska. Presented at the National Interagency Fire Behavior Workshop, March 1-5, 1999; Phoenix, AZ. 4p.