The Alaska base of the Pioneer Hot Shots and the Glacier Gannette crew near Wasilla has been broken into twice in the last four years. After the 2009 ransacking of the base during which most of the crew members’ vehicles were damaged and government equipment was taken from the building, a person was convicted of that break-in and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
In July, 2012 the facility was broken into again. This time there was not as much damage, but state equipment was taken, as well as personal items belonging to the crews and two crew members’ Toyota pickup trucks.
An article in The Frontiersman details an extremely vigorous investigation by Alaska State Troopers which ultimately led to the arrest of one person for the most recent break in. The Troopers found a security video from a nearby hospital that showed the break in, including a large U-Haul truck pulling up to the Department of Forestry Building. They also recovered a stolen GPS receiver that had tracked the thieves after the robbery, and after obtaining a search warrant found similar location tracking information on a stolen iPhone that was in possession of one of the suspects. The iPhone’s data showed the phone had been at the nine locations where a firefighter’s debit card had been used after the robbery.
It is a fascinating story… check it out at The Frontiersman.
Thanks go out to Kelly
For the second time in three years, thieves broke into the facility of crews working for the Alaska Division of Forestry near Wasilla. In 2009, the Pioneer Hot Shots and the Glacier Gannette crew returned from two-week fire assignments to discover that their base had been ransacked. Most of the 25 personal vehicles belonging to the firefighters had been broken into and damaged.
This time there was not as much damage, but state equipment was taken, as well as personal items belonging to the crews and two crew members’ Toyota pickup trucks.
More information is at the Anchorage Daily News.
Thanks go out to Cannon.
Here is a video of an unmanned aerial vehicle being used to gather intelligence about a fire in Alaska.
(THE VIDEO IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE)
Earlier this month in Alaska, a 40-pound Insitu Scan Eagle saw duty fighting wildfires after dense haze grounded conventional aircraft. The UAV is operated by the University of Alaska, which according to university officials is the first entity other than NASA or the Department of Homeland Security allowed to fly an unmanned aircraft beyond the line of sight in civil airspace.
The Scan Eagle — which is Boeing’s best-selling aircraft right now — was able to fly low over the fires through the thick smoke. Infrared cameras allowed people on the ground tracking the fires to find hotspots and monitor the fire lines.