Performance Details

Department of Natural Resources

Mission

Responsibly develop Alaska’s resources by making them available for maximum use and benefit consistent with the public interest. Alaska Constitution Article 8; AS 03, AS 27, AS 38, AS 40, AS 41, AS 43.90, AS 14.30.740

Core Services

  • Foster responsible commercial development and use of state land and natural resources, consistent with the public interest, for long-term wealth and employment.
  • Provide access to state lands for public and private use, settlement, and recreation.
  • Ensure sufficient data acquisition and assessment of land and resources to foster responsible resource development.
  • Mitigate threat to the public from natural hazards by providing comprehensive fire protection services on state, private and municipal lands, and through identifying significant geologic hazards.

Arrow GraphicResults

Core Services
A: Department Result  Details >
A1: Foster responsible commercial development and use of state land and natural resources, consistent with the public interest, for long-term wealth and employment.  Details >
  • TARGET #1: Award oil, gas, and geothermal leases within nine months of sale to advocated responsible exploration of oil, gas, and geothermal resources in Alaska.
  • TARGET #2: Promote responsible exploration of Alaska's oil, gas, and geothermal resources by holding five area-wide oil and gas lease sales according to the most recent schedule published in the five-year program.
  • TARGET #3: Facilitate and improve regulatory and lease compliance monitoring of AS 38.35 pipelines.
  • TARGET #4: Review, coordinate, and manage 100% of large resource development projects that request Office of Project Management & Permitting services to assist companies in navigating the state and federal permitting process.
  • TARGET #6: State pipeline right-of-way applications and permits reviewed and adjudicated within agreed upon time frames with the applicant/lessee or as legally required by law.
  • TARGET #7: Provide stable or increasing economic benefit from the use of trees and forests on state land by selling state timber to forty or more Alaskan businesses.
  • TARGET #8: Increase awareness of Alaska Grown products and market options, and expand gross farm product sales.
  • TARGET #9: Operate the Forest Resources and Practices Act program to achieve 100% implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs).
  • TARGET #10: Promote safety for people connected to the operation of boats used in Alaska's waters.
A2: Provide access to state lands for public and private use, settlement, and recreation.  Details >
  • TARGET #1: Process 100% of new applications received for the use of state land and water resources.
  • TARGET #2: Submit Recordable Disclaimers of Interest (RDI) applications on 5-10 water bodies to BLM in order to defend state title of the submerged land acquired at statehood.
  • TARGET #3: Each year receive lands determined to be essential to the state’s economic development. These would include lands containing oil and gas, mineral or forest resources, lands selected for municipal entitlements, and lands necessary to eliminate inholdings.
  • TARGET #4: Provide accessible, clean, safe, and well-maintained park facilities for Alaska residents and visitors by reducing deferred maintenance needs in park units.
  • TARGET #5: Collect fees necessary to reach authorized program receipt funds in the Parks Management and Access budget; annually evaluate and if necessary, raise fees in order to reach program receipts authorization.
A3: Ensure sufficient data acquisition and assessment of land and resources to foster responsible resource development.  Details >
  • TARGET #1: Publish reports on energy-related geology that assist the energy industry and state agencies in exploring for and managing energy resources on state-interest lands
  • TARGET #2: Publish airborne geophysical survey data for Alaska's minerals-interest lands
A4: Mitigate threat to the public from natural hazards by providing comprehensive fire protection services on state, private and municipal lands, and through identifying significant geologic hazards.  Details >
  • TARGET #1: Publish reports or maps providing improved assessment of geologic hazards that pose significant risks to public safety or infrastructure
  • TARGET #2: Contain greater than 90% of wildland fires at less than 10 acres within Alaska’s heavily populated areas (Critical and Full Management Options) in accordance with the Alaska Interagency Wildland Fire Management Plan.
  • TARGET #3: Provide wildland fire training to agency personnel, fire departments, urban and rural communities.
  • TARGET #4: Fill the firefighting needs for the average fire season with Alaskan firefighters.

Performance Detail


A: Result - Department Result

A1: Core Service - Foster responsible commercial development and use of state land and natural resources, consistent with the public interest, for long-term wealth and employment.
    
Target #1: Award oil, gas, and geothermal leases within nine months of sale to advocated responsible exploration of oil, gas, and geothermal resources in Alaska.


Analysis of results and challenges: FY2014: The leasing section awarded 100 percent of leases within nine months of sale. Leases resulting from the North Slope sale were awarded within two months; Beaufort Sea leases were awarded within two months; Alaska Peninsula leases were awarded within five months; and leases from the Cook Inlet sale are on track to meet the nine-month goal. In addition, the division also awarded 72 leases from the conversion of the Nenana Basin and Susitna Basin No. 1 exploration licenses. New oil and gas lease award processes resulted in 97% of leases meeting the goal of issuance within 9 months of the lease sale. Complex issues such as state-federal boundary disputes prevented the division from meeting the goal for the remaining oil and gas leases.

FY2013: The division implementeDuring FY2013, the division also awarded 42 leases from the conversion of the Nenana Exploration License. The Mt. Augustine Geothermal sale conducted May 8, 2013 resulted in one lease sold, and it was awarded on July 31, 2013 (well within the 9 month target).

FY2012: This goal was not met in FY2012, because several large lease sales in a row in FY2011 and FY2012 created a large backlog for title and survey work. Due to the volume of sales and staffing limitations in the Division of Oil and Gas and other divisions, all Cook Inlet leases from the June 2011 lease sale were issued in FY2012. Corrective measures are in development to prevent future delays.

FY2011: The leasing section awarded 100 percent of leases within nine months of sale. Leases resulting from the North Slope sale were awarded within six months; Beaufort Sea leases were awarded within five months; and leases from the June Cook Inlet Sale are still pending (Alaska Peninsula and North Slope Foothills sales received no bids).

FY2010: The leasing section awarded 100 percent of leases within nine months of sale. Leases resulting from North Slope sale were awarded within six months; Beaufort Sea leases awarded within five months; North Slope Foothills leases awarded within six months, and leases from the Cook Inlet sale are still pending.

    
Target #2: Promote responsible exploration of Alaska's oil, gas, and geothermal resources by holding five area-wide oil and gas lease sales according to the most recent schedule published in the five-year program.


Lease Sales Held According to Schedule
Fiscal Year Scheduled Sales
FY 2014
5
FY 2013
5
FY 2012
5
FY 2011
5
FY 2010
5

Analysis of results and challenges: FY2014: All Lease Sales were held according to the five-year program.
FY2013: All Lease Sales were held according to the five-year program.
FY2012: All Lease Sales were held according to the five-year program.
FY2011: All Lease Sales were held according to the five-year program.
FY2010: Five Lease Sales were held according to the five-year program. Lease Sales for the North Slope and North Slope Foothills were held in October 2009 with a combined total of $8,485,039.47 in valid bids. The Beaufort Sea lease sale was held in February 2010 with a sale total of $724,181.84 in valid bids. Lease Sales for the Alaska Peninsula and Cook Inlet were held in May 2010 with a sale total of $2,596,352.00 (no bids received for the Alaska Peninsula area).
    
Target #3: Facilitate and improve regulatory and lease compliance monitoring of AS 38.35 pipelines.

Methodology: Combined Compliance & Oversight Monitoring of AS 38.35 pipelines includes surveillance, assessments, lease compliance reports, engineering technical and design reports and reviews. Note: FY2014 statistics reflect consolidation of lease compliance and surveillance reports; therefore, the graph shows a decrease in actions.

Compliance & Oversight Monitoring Actions of AS 38.35 Pipelines
Fiscal Year YTD Total
FY 2014
297
FY 2013
541
FY 2012
552
FY 2011
554
FY 2010
355
FY 2009
258
    
Target #4: Review, coordinate, and manage 100% of large resource development projects that request Office of Project Management & Permitting services to assist companies in navigating the state and federal permitting process.

Methodology: Total amount of MOU funding agreements and RSAs with project proponents for oil and gas projects such as Point Thomson, ConocoPhillips' GMT-1, Blue Crest, Shell, Tulimaniq, Nordaq, Interior Energy, Apache, Agrium, and the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas.

Growth of OPMP Oil & Gas Projects
Fiscal Year
FY 2014
$1,023,501
FY 2013
$641,821
FY 2012
$355,471

Analysis of results and challenges: Every large development project has a Project Coordinator assigned to it. Although OPMP does not (and cannot) control the amount of development that is proposed in the state, it can respond to proposals and offer project management services to promote the responsible development of the state's resources. The graph is indicative of the increasing number and scale of large development projects coordinated by OPMP. This is a reflection of the superior service that OPMP offers in project management, review, stewardship, and permitting services. Similarly significant and indicative of the success and value of the OPMP services is the amount of funding resource development applicants are providing to OPMP to manage their projects. Trend-wise, these data indicate that OPMP continues to consistently deliver a high level of project management services, and is embraced by the industry and state agencies as promoting responsible development through superior project management.

Such project management success can be seen in the recent permitting of the Point Thomson Project, which is a 22-mile pipeline connecting the field to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. The Point Thomson project is expected to produce up to 10,000 barrels of liquefied condensate by 2016; and after 2016, with increased capacity up to 70,000 barrels per day.

    
Target #5: Offer 200 parcels of land at auction.


Analysis of results and challenges: In calendar year 2013, the auction was held in July instead of June. This moved the auction into FY2014. The auction was held July 17, 2013, offering 473 parcels (3,383 acres).

For the first time, a special discount auction was held in May 2014 for 422 parcels (2,908 acres) at 70% of appraised value as allowed by AS 38.05.055. All parcels are remote reoffers and had been on OTC for several years without selling.

Auction parcels are a mix of new subdivision lots and reoffers of previous sales. Potential reoffer parcels may need hazmat cleanup, trespass removal and title clearance. All potential reoffer parcels need to be reappraised. Some potential reoffers have improvements to access or utilities.

Each year, some parcels intended for auction are dropped because of various complications creating delays, such as access, wetlands, archaeological discoveries, borough and DOT/PF requirements, trespass, and hazardous materials, which needed to be addressed before sale.

    
Target #6: State pipeline right-of-way applications and permits reviewed and adjudicated within agreed upon time frames with the applicant/lessee or as legally required by law.

    
Target #7: Provide stable or increasing economic benefit from the use of trees and forests on state land by selling state timber to forty or more Alaskan businesses.

Methodology: Division of Forestry

Analysis of results and challenges: The number of purchasers of state timber sales has returned to historic levels after spiking in 2009 and 2010, two years with many new entrants into the commercial firewood business. Since FY2005 timber sales to mills in Southeast has been a division priority to help offset sharp declines in federal timber sales. Pacific Logging and Lumber of Ketchikan permanently shut its doors in late 2010 due to lack of federal timber supply. State timber supply continues to be critical to the Viking Lumber mill in Klawock, the last remaining mid sized mill in Southeast. Commercial firewood demand continues at a high level, however the market has matured and the number of firms participating has decreased.
    
Target #8: Increase awareness of Alaska Grown products and market options, and expand gross farm product sales.

Methodology: Reported on an annual basis from Alaska Agricultural Statistics.

Monetary Value of Agriculture Products Sold in Million Dollars
Year YTD Total
2013
$30.0
2012
$30.8
2011
$31.7
2010
$30.8
2009
$31.9
2008
$32.4
2007
$33.0
2006
$32.4
2005
$33.7
2004
$32.4
2003
$31.6

Analysis of results and challenges: In 2013 Alaska experienced a extremely hot dry season that had a negative impact on crops with no access to irrigation. The data provided comes from surveys conducted throughout the year by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Services.


    
Target #9: Operate the Forest Resources and Practices Act program to achieve 100% implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs).

Methodology: BMP implementation compliance is measured as the percentage of BMPs rated 4 or higher out of a perfect score of 5 in field inspections of forest operations. BMP implementation was not scored in Interior Alaska in either 2004 or 2005.

Forest Resources & Practices Act Program: Displayed as the Rating of Best Management Practices Implementation by Region per Year
Year Coastal Southcentral Interior
2013
96%
98%
80%
2012
98%
98%
92%
2011
100%
90%
91%
2010
95%
100%
93%
2009
92%
100%
70%
2008
95%
98%
92%
2007
89%
94%
89%
2006
89%
91%
83%
2005
95%
80%

2004
94%
76%


Analysis of results and challenges: Best Management Practices (BMPs) are designed to prevent adverse impacts from forest operations on fish habitat and water quality, and to ensure prompt reforestation following harvest. Compliance with the BMPs is high statewide. Improved scores in the interior reflect improved maintenance of forest roads on the Tanana Valley State Forest. The division intends to continue to focus on improved maintenance of forest roads. The division uses compliance monitoring results to identify training needs. Training emphasizes specific BMPs with relatively low ratings and targets operators with a history of compliance issues. BMPs for maintenance of active and inactive roads are a current training focus. The increased demand for firewood is likely to result in additional training needs for new operators who are unfamiliar with FRPA.
    
Target #10: Promote safety for people connected to the operation of boats used in Alaska's waters.

Methodology: This graph represents observed life jacket wear rates averaged over three year periods.

Alaska Personal Flotation Device Use in Powerboats by Age Group
Year <13 years old 13-17 years old 18+ years old
2012
90.6
58.7
11.5
2009
91.3
40.1
13.6
2006
87.6
47.6
6.3
2003
81
33.5
6.3

Analysis of results and challenges: Results of observational life jacket wear rate studies conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard.

A2: Core Service - Provide access to state lands for public and private use, settlement, and recreation.
    
Target #1: Process 100% of new applications received for the use of state land and water resources.

Methodology: Includes permits, leases, easements, easement vacations, trespass, material sales, unorganized borough plats, interagency land management agreements, water rights, temporary water use authorizations, and instream flow reservations.

Analysis of results and challenges: The numbers reflected in the chart as issued are not a direct subset of the new applications because some cases are issued from applications received in previous years.

During FY2014, there was a decrease in authorization issuance productivity. A substantial amount of time has been spent working on IT solutions to improve efficiencies in the long run. Staff time has also been diverted to work on complex cases that are resistent to solution, reducing the total output of issued cases.

Included in this number are trespass cases which do not start with an application, but require the adjudicatory work. The numbers are not reflective of early entry authorizations that allow applicants to use and construct on state land before final issuance of easements and leases.

Each new authorization issued creates a new workload of contract administration, billing, monitoring, and compliance, and close out, all of which is not reflected in these numbers.

The division expects there to be more applications in future years as the economy improves and because the state is receiving additional entitlement acres with high development potential each year.

The division's stewardship responsibilities that do not involve issuing an authorization are increasing rapidly. The substantial amount of time staff spends on these issues takes them away from their duties to process authorizations.

In general, many types of businesses received authorizations that allowed use of state land for financial gain. Authorizations in this component benefit utility, oil and gas, mining, commercial recreation, tourism, fishing, construction, and other development industries by giving them legal access to the state owned land and resources. If the division is not able to issue these authorizations in a timely manner, these same industries are adversely affected. Often businesses cannot plan their operations; get investment capital, insurance, or loans if they do not have required land authorizations.
    
Target #2: Submit Recordable Disclaimers of Interest (RDI) applications on 5-10 water bodies to BLM in order to defend state title of the submerged land acquired at statehood.

Methodology: This counts number of RDI applications formally submitted. The preliminary step of submitting draft applications is not shown. One RDI may have multiple rivers and lakes included.

Analysis of results and challenges: During FY2014 the division did not file any Recordable Disclaimers of Interest (RDI) applications. Work was diverted to working litigation efforts on the Mosquito Fork Quiet Title Action as well as other access assertion and defense cases. While BLM is not making any progress on the existing RDI applications, the division decided the staff effort would be more productive focusing on litigation efforts that may help to encourage BLM to more expeditiously issue RDIs. There are currently 15 RDI applications submitted or in draft application submission stage, representing 73 water bodies, waiting for decisions from BLM.

The division processes on going navigability information requests associated with the internal review of a myriad of projects. Complaints from the public about interference with access to navigable waters continues to consume considerable staff time and resources.
    
Target #3: Each year receive lands determined to be essential to the state’s economic development. These would include lands containing oil and gas, mineral or forest resources, lands selected for municipal entitlements, and lands necessary to eliminate inholdings.

Methodology: Includes lands containing oil and gas, mineral or forest resources, lands selected for municipal entitlements, and lands necessary to eliminate inholdings.

Analysis of results and challenges: The decrease in new acres the state received from BLM in FY2014 continues to signify the shift from receiving lands to actual management of the land for developing the state’s resources. In FY2015 BLM will continue to focus on the fulfillment of ANCSA village and regional entitlements, and surveying state and ANCSA lands while issuing confirmatory patents. As ANCSA entitlements are fulfilled, relinquishments and rejections of ANCSA over-selections will continue to occur; this will continue to increase the state’s over-selection acreage. Realty Services will continue to review and relinquish those selections of low priority lands, duplicate selections or selected lands that BLM has already conveyed, in order to reduce our ever increasing over-selection acreage. FY2015 will continue to see resources directed toward reviewing the state's remaining selections and priorities and working on projects targeted toward improved working relationships with the federal government relating to state selections, priorities, lands conveyed to the state in error, identification of emerged islands, identification of abandoned mines on state selected lands, and other related issues. It is anticipated that our federal mining claim conversions workload will continue to increase due to federal actions on the mining front. Additionally, a substantial amount of staff time is dedicated to research and map issues associated with selections that are impeded by withdrawals and processing emerged islands as a result of BLM closing out ANCSA Corporation selections.

To date the state has acquired approximately 101 million acres of the 106 million acres to which it is entitled as a result of Alaska statehood and various other federal laws. This leaves an outstanding balance of approximately 5 million acres that the state has yet to receive; the vast majority of these acres are currently unavailable for the state to take title to as they are encumbered by federal withdrawals or other ANCSA selections. In an effort to decrease our over selection acreage during FY2014, Realty Services Section reviewed and relinquished 1,436,025 acres of Mineral Selections and/or General Selections that either had already been conveyed or were dual selected. Working in concert with the Mining section/Abandoned Mines, Realty Services reviewed 7 areas and identified 377 abandoned mines for potential clean up needs prior to the state taking title.

Realty Services is the bedrock of DNR DMLW, as far as taking title in from the sovereign and other entities, therefore, it is critical that the data we have and maintain is accurate, as all future resource development will be based upon that title.

Challenges – slowdown in BLM responses to processing state priority conveyances, and processing other title related issues; staffing fluctuations and training, scanning of file documents into the Content Management System, and increase in workload related to federal mining claim conversions.

    
Target #4: Provide accessible, clean, safe, and well-maintained park facilities for Alaska residents and visitors by reducing deferred maintenance needs in park units.


Parks Deferred Maintenance
Fiscal Year DM Funding DM Backlog
FY 2014
$2,772.0
$59,694.6
FY 2013
$3,200.0
$59,626.5
FY 2012
$2,075.0
$59,663.0
FY 2011
$3,480.0
$60,581.0
FY 2010
$6,000.0
$65,822.6

Analysis of results and challenges: Net gain is zero under the current funding levels.
    
Target #5: Collect fees necessary to reach authorized program receipt funds in the Parks Management and Access budget; annually evaluate and if necessary, raise fees in order to reach program receipts authorization.

Methodology: *Other revenue represents Commercial Use Permits, Park Use Permits, Boat Launch Fees, and Boat Launch Decals.

Revenue Collected on Park User Fees (In Thousands)
Fiscal Year Camping Cabins Parking Other Rev.* GF/PR Auth
FY 2014
329.5
445.1
996.9
1,311.3
2,822.2
FY 2013
284.7
420.0
779.5
1,417.5
2,618.4
FY 2012
292.1
401.5
866.3
909.5
2,466.3
FY 2011
304.5
375.5
703.7
1,070.1
2,381.7
FY 2010
315.8
356.6
761.9
972.7
2,323.8
FY 2009
305.6
341.8
611.5
1,025.0
2,269.4
FY 2008
292.4
334.7
599.3
1,124.9
2,234.0
FY 2007
269.0
309.6
668.1
1,059.5
2,156.7

A3: Core Service - Ensure sufficient data acquisition and assessment of land and resources to foster responsible resource development.
    
Target #1: Publish reports on energy-related geology that assist the energy industry and state agencies in exploring for and managing energy resources on state-interest lands

Methodology: Number of new reports published on energy-related geology during the fiscal year

New Reports Published on Energy-Related Geology
Fiscal Year Fiscal Year Total Target
FY 2014
9
9
FY 2013
9
5
FY 2012
6
7
FY 2011
2
1
FY 2010
9
7
FY 2009
0
6
FY 2008
8
6
FY 2007
7
6

Analysis of results and challenges: Publicly available detailed geologic knowledge is important for energy resource development and management. This information must result from the most modern analyses and incorporate all available data in order to identify frontier areas of energy exploration on state lands. A critical component of this effort is the publication of geologic reports on a wide range of energy sources.

During FY2014, the Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) published seven reports providing new geologic data to assist continued oil and gas exploration throughout the Cook Inlet region. These reports present details on geologic mapping, structural information, and reservoir data in the southern (Iniskin Peninsula) and northern (Tyonek) areas of Cook Inlet. An additional comprehensive report on the geologic framework and petroleum geology of Cook Inlet basin was published outside of DGGS in a petroleum memoir. This memoir will reach an international audience and bring attention to exploration opportunities for the oil and gas industry in Cook Inlet.

DGGS also published one report with new subsurface and geologic structural information for the eastern North Slope that provides industry with new data relevant to exploration in the Brooks Range foothills.


Related links:
   • DGGS Energy Resources program


    
Target #2: Publish airborne geophysical survey data for Alaska's minerals-interest lands

Methodology: Number of square miles of new airborne geophysical surveys of minerals-interest lands published during the fiscal year

Square Miles of Published Minerals-Related Airborne Geophysical Data
Fiscal Year Square Miles Target
FY 2014
2,176
2,500
FY 2013
1,267
1,200
FY 2012
850
800
FY 2011
742
700
FY 2010
653
640
FY 2009
442
400
FY 2008
965
750
FY 2007
613
750

Analysis of results and challenges: Much of Alaska’s mineral-potential lands have poorly exposed geology due to tundra and tree cover. Airborne geophysical surveys can provide invaluable information in areas of covered bedrock. When combined with subsequent ground-based geologic mapping and sampling, airborne geophysical survey data can provide reliable information for mineral-resource assessment. Only about 27 percent of prioritized mineral-bearing lands have been surveyed, and the Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) is committed to prioritizing and acquiring important data in remaining areas of the state that have high mineral-resource potential.

DGGS released 2,176 square miles of new airborne geophysical data in FY2014 from surveys flown in the Farewell (McGrath and Lime Hills quadrangles) and Wrangellia (Talkeetna Mountains, Healy, and Mt. Hayes quadrangles) areas. In FY2015, DGGS anticipates publishing new airborne geophysical data for about 2,328 square miles from the East Styx, Tonsina, and Tok surveys.

The Strategic and Critical Minerals project is allowing DGGS to annually publish more than twice the amount of airborne geophysical data than was produced in the past.


Related links:
   • DGGS airborne geophysics program



A4: Core Service - Mitigate threat to the public from natural hazards by providing comprehensive fire protection services on state, private and municipal lands, and through identifying significant geologic hazards.
    
Target #1: Publish reports or maps providing improved assessment of geologic hazards that pose significant risks to public safety or infrastructure

Methodology: Number of peer-reviewed reports or maps published during the fiscal year assessing geologic hazards that pose significant risks to public safety

Published New Reports on Geologic Hazards that Pose Significant Risks to Public Safety
Fiscal Year Fiscal Year Total Target
FY 2014
12
16
FY 2013
13
18
FY 2012
12
12
FY 2011
9
5
FY 2010
4
4
FY 2009
5
2
FY 2008
4
2

Analysis of results and challenges: Preventing economic losses and impacts to public safety from natural disasters is closely tied to our understanding of the risks presented by Alaska’s complex geology. Mitigation of these risks can only come about through detailed field mapping and understanding of the natural hazards, and timely distribution of that information. Increasing population and development in Alaska create significant demands for acquiring geologic data and distributing it in a timely fashion. Hazards-related programs of the Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) include coastal, active faulting, climate/cryosphere, and volcano hazards, as well as geologic hazards along multi-modal infrastructure corridors. Federal funding cuts to volcano programs in FY2013 had a significant effect on DGGS’s ability to evaluate and publish information on volcanic hazards in Alaska, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

In FY2014, hazards investigations were published for the Yukon River bridge area, Portage-Whittier area, and a portion of the Alaska Highway near Tok. Tsunami inundation maps published for Port Valdez and Sitka have increased the number of these valuable community-evacuation tools available to state emergency planners through DGGS from five to seven. Four reports relating to volcano hazards were published, including two through national peer-reviewed journals. LiDAR elevation data for Whittier and Unalakleet and oblique aerial imagery for Port Heiden—all critical data sets for hazards evaluation and emergency planning—were also published and made available through the DGGS web site.


Related links:
   • DGGS Engineering Geology program
   • Alaska Volcano Observatory


    
Target #2: Contain greater than 90% of wildland fires at less than 10 acres within Alaska’s heavily populated areas (Critical and Full Management Options) in accordance with the Alaska Interagency Wildland Fire Management Plan.

Methodology: DOF Protection Areas only. Source: Integrated Fire Management System (IFM)

Analysis of results and challenges: Critical Management Option encompasses communities while the Full Management Option encompasses wildlands near communities and clusters of values. Critical areas are designated as the highest priority areas/sites for suppression action and assignment of available firefighting resources due to the immediate threat to human life and primary residences. The division successfully suppressed all but three fires in Critical at less than 10 acres (99.9% success rate). The division was successful with 99.9% of the suppression of fires in Full with only four fires exceeding 10 acres.

The percentage of fires kept at 10 acres or less in these populated areas reflects the success of initial attack efforts. Factors impacting this success include early detection, short response time, weather and fuels conditions, and the availability of firefighting resources including the local fire departments.

In 2014 more fires started within the area of state protection (295) than in federal protection (118 ignitions). The large number of fire ignitions has created challenges for the division to successfully contain those fires in the Critical and Full Management Options. Firefighting resources are limited during these seasons and each new fire start must be evaluated as to the immediacy of the threat to values in the area. In certain cases, the decision is made not to immediately suppress the fire due to higher priorities within the state.

    
Target #3: Provide wildland fire training to agency personnel, fire departments, urban and rural communities.


Analysis of results and challenges: A broad range of training is provided to firefighters, ranging from introductory classes for first year firefighters to advanced training for returning firefighters and fire managers. Efficient, cost effective, safe, and successful initial attack relies on the highly trained seasonal firefighters, structure/volunteer local fire departments, local Emergency Firefighters (EFF), and crews. Annual training and certification ensures the availability of this workforce when needed during fire activity and meets national standards which qualify them for further fire assignments.

The division provides extensive training to not only state employees but also to cooperators such as local government employees and fire departments (cooperators). In 2014, over 900 cooperators were trained in wildland fire by the division. Fire management necessitates the use of a large number of emergency firefighters (EFF) who also require appropriate training. In 2014, the division trained over 1100 EFF.

The challenge for the division is to ensure that the training provided is meeting the needs of firefighters and managers on Alaska fires. This challenge is currently met with a training staff that plans, coordinates, and provides specific fire courses designed to develop Alaska’s firefighters for the future. These courses are provided to the interagency fire community which provides leverage for the division to provide extensive opportunities to its employees and cooperators.

The division has also expanded its relationship with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) to enhance the Fire Science program. This relationship includes UAF’s participation and support of the Advanced Firefighter Academy, development of university credits for wildland fire courses, and providing division employees as instructors in the UAF Fire Science curriculum.

Related links:
   • Division of Forestry Firefighting Resources


    
Target #4: Fill the firefighting needs for the average fire season with Alaskan firefighters.

Methodology: Alaska Interagency Coordination Center

Percent of Alaskan Crews & Individuals Assigned to Alaska Fires / Total Needed
Year AK Indiv. Assigned % AK Individuals AK Crews Assigned % AK Crews
2014
320
66%
31
76.6%
2013
1,521
74.7%
94
81.2%
2012
725
95.3%
65
100%
2011
2,017
83.5%
122
89.1%
2010
484
55.8%
83
85.3%
2009
1,443
68.8%
60
77.0%
2008
807
90.7%
52
98.0%
2007
27
52.5%
31
67.2%
2006
745
80.9%
25
86.6%

Analysis of results and challenges: As identified in the Department of Natural Resources Department Order 017, the Division of Forestry must provide a strong initial attack, management and support capability to assure maximum efficiency is achieved for an “average fire year” based on the historical fire occurrence. In 2014 the Division of Forestry ordered 66 crews and used 31 Alaskan crews to fill these orders. 10 crews from the L-48 were utilized and orders for 25 crews went unfilled or were canceled Orders for 687 individuals were placed for State of Alaska fires with only 320 Alaskans able to fill these orders, 165 jobs were filled with firefighters from the Lower-48 and Canada and 202 orders were unable to be filled or were canceled.

The Division’s need for Lower-48 firefighting resources (agency crews, contract crews, and individuals with advanced training to meet initial and extended attack suppression objectives) should be replaced with increased in-state capacity to provide jobs to Alaskans. Employing Alaskans reduces suppression costs by eliminating the mobilization and demobilization expenses of Lower-48 resources. As an added benefit, Alaska crews and individuals that have had advanced training can work reducing fire risk via mitigation of fuels in urban and rural villages as identified in Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs). This will also assist in meeting growing demand for biomass fuels for residential and commercial applications, while further developing bio-fuel markets.

The challenge for the Division of Forestry is to maintain the number of firefighting crews to provide fire protection into the future. Currently the advanced firefighting crews are funded by federal grants. As these grants diminish, other funding sources must be found to continue to fill the firefighting needs of the State of Alaska.

Related links:
   • Division of Forestry Employment Opportunities


 

Current as of September 23, 2014