The Alaskan Fire Control Service was authorized by Congress in 1939. Its mission was to detect and suppress forest and range fires on the public lands in the Territory of Alaska. The U.S. military provided soldiers, supplies, and aircraft support. When the Bureau of Land Management was created in 1946, the Fire Control Service became the BLM Division of Forestry.
During the 1940s, the federal government began to construct roadside campgrounds to reduce wildfires. The rapid wartime surge in both civilian and military populations greatly increased public demand for access to natural resources located along the expanding territorial road system. These early campgrounds were expanded and improved by the BLM in the mid to late 1950s, and are now operated by the State of Alaska.
Smokejumpers were first used in Alaska in 1959. The first wildfire protection agreement between the new State of Alaska and the BLM would eventually become the basis for current statewide wildfire protection efforts.
By the 1960s, BLM area administration had moved from Juneau to Anchorage. Aircraft involved with BLM firefighting efforts in southcentral Alaska were based out of Elmendorf Air Force Base. Additional BLM equipment and personnel were located at a 40-acre Anchorage Administrative Site located along Third Avenue.
On March 27, 1964, a powerful earthquake caused substantial destruction in Anchorage. This "Good Friday" quake created a serious shortage of land suitable for construction and as sources of gravel to restore damaged city streets and lots. The City of Anchorage and the State of Alaska urgently appealed to the federal government for help. Their appeals included the request that all BLM property located within the city be conveyed to the City of Anchorage.
Anchorage Fire Control Station
The BLM signed an agreement with the U.S. Army in 1965 that allowed the BLM to construct a replacement site at the southern end of Campbell Airstrip. This new administrative site was known as the Anchorage Fire Control Station and was managed by the BLM Anchorage District Office. This site was completed around 1968 and included offices, housing for seasonal firefighters, a cafeteria, a warehouse, a parachute loft, repair and maintenance shops, and other support facilities. Today, this administrative site is known as the BLM Campbell Tract Facility.
In 1982, the newly authorized Alaska Fire Service
in Fairbanks became operational and all BLM firefighting activities were transferred to the new organization.
Return to Campbell Tract Then and Now