Wildfire prevention at the Iditarod

Iditarod map
Map of the historic Iditarod Trail, which inspired the sled dog race. The race now takes a modified route, and begins at Anchorage instead of Seward. Credit: BLM.

There is a report that a lack of snow in some areas on the course of the Iditarod has organizers of the 1,000-mile long sled dog race concerned about wildfire prevention. We searched and found hundreds of photos of this year’s race which began March 2, but they all had snow. However, I suspect that 99 percent of the route is not easily accessible by photographers.

Below is an excerpt from a Facebook post by Husky Homestead Tours.

…Snowless stretches of trail are wreaking havoc on sleds…

Hydration is a key word right now. With the dry trail conditions dogs are not able to dip snow as they would during a run in “winter”. (By the way – we’re still looking for you folks in the Lower 48 to send us our weather back!) Mushers may not find much snow, if any, along the trail to melt for their dogs, either. Many will carry some, stop along the trail wherever there is open water and let the dogs lap some up, as well as offer plain water to the dogs as soon as they arrive in a checkpoint. Mushers know that keeping a team hydrated (and themselves!) is key.

While on the “dry trail conditions” subject… this years’ race has a fire danger! Dry conditions in Rohn caused Race Marshall Mark Nordman to state that monetary fines would be given to any musher with an unattended fire. How’s that for news we haven’t heard of before??


Thanks and a hat tip go out to Keith

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

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