Fire Management

The goal of both the BLM and the Alaska interagency fire management program is to protect the public, firefighters, and identified sites from wildland fire while providing an opportunity, through interagency cooperation and collaboration, for BLM to accomplish fire-related, land-use and resource management objectives in a cost-efficient manner, consistent with BLM and DOI policies.

The protection of human life is the single, overriding suppression priority.

BLM fire ecologists and other resource specialists support the ecological role of fire in remote areas. Resource management goals include continuing the use of fire to protect, maintain and enhance natural resources through the natural fire regime wherever possible.

Policies and procedures among Alaska land managing and suppression agencies were standardized during the 1980s. As a result, four wildland fire suppression management options (Critical, Full, Modified, Limited described in the Alaska Interagency Wildland Fire Management Plan) are utilized. Each management option is defined by objectives, management constraints, and values to be protected.

Fire Protection Areas

Alaska is divided between three wildland fire protection agencies to maximize the efficient use of fire-related resources. The BLM AFS, Alaska Division of Forestry, and U.S. Forest Service respond to wildland fires within their respective protection areas regardless of jurisdictional agency.

Alaska fire management zone map

AFS Fire Management Zones

BLM AFS Fire Management Zones provide direction for the development and execution of long- and short-range goals, policies and standardized procedures within AFS’s protection area in northern Alaska. They develop and maintain one-on-one relationships with the other Zones in the AFS as well as other federal, state and Native land managers/owners to ensure land management objectives are understood and accomplished. Each Zone ensures that fire suppression strategies and tactics are responsive to the land managers/owners and their land management goals, objectives and protection standards. The Zones ensure that fire management readiness levels for their crews, equipment and facilities are commensurate with predicted and actual fire occurrence, behavior and general workload. The Zones coordinate with the other BLM offices as well as other federal and Native Land managers and owners in developing fuels management programs, prescribed fire planning and implementation and hazardous fuels reduction projects. The Zones provide assistance in fire management planning to all of the land managers in their respective Zones and assist the BLM field offices in updating their Land Use Plans.

Each Zone is managed by a Fire Management Officer (FMO) who is a line officer at the AFS. The FMO provides fire management leadership and is responsible for the execution of all fire management, logistical, aviation and support activities within the geographical area of responsibility. The exception being the South Zone, which falls outside AFS protection area and is managed by a Fire Management Specialist.

Within their respective zones, fire management staff coordinate joint suppression operations with the State of Alaska suppression forces. Zone staff jointly develop the wildland fire management decision process with affected land managers for fires that exceed initial attack control capability. The Zones conduct operational reviews relating to fire suppression performance for responsiveness to client agency requirements and compliance with policies, objectives, standards, safety and overall effectiveness of operation.

The Zones provide incident business management oversight and direction for incident operations. They coordinate incident management team activities by delegating authority, ensuring adherence to state and federal business requirements and preparing, reviewing, and authorizing fiscal documents.

AFS Zone Acres

AFS Fire Management Zones