Tanacross plans forest thinning to diminish wildfire threat

Posted: Friday, July 20, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Workers in Tanacross will thin stands of black spruce that pose a wildfire threat on about 52 acres around the village.

The work is expected to begin July 30 in the Interior community about 10 miles northwest of Tok.

Fred Hernandez, a smokejumper with the Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service, said the project is a cooperative effort by the service, the village, the Tanana Chiefs Conference, the state Division of Forestry and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The village will hire a 16-member crew to be trained by AFS personnel during a two-day course emphasizing safe chain saw operations. The crew will work for eight to 10 weeks this summer and complete the project next summer.

Hernandez said black and white spruce will be thinned to a minimum spacing of 6 feet. Lower branches of remaining spruce trees will be pruned to eliminate ''ladder fuels.'' All live hardwoods will be left uncut.

The national Communities at Risk Program provided money for the project.

Planning is under way for similar projects in Northway and Nulato. The Alaska Fire Service has completed smaller fuels reduction projects on Fort Wainwright.

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