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Refuge Irrigation System Aids Firefight

refuge water

During the course of the Little Horsethief Canyon Fire, the National Elk Refuge has hosted the helibase for refilling the aerial units with retardant and water.  Its proximity to the fire already made it a prime location, but the newly-installed irrigation system replacing a series of flood irrigation ditches added an unexpected bonus.  According to refuge officials, irrigation hoses were used to continually fill a 10-thousand gallon free standing water storage unit to make water readily available for the mixing tank and also provided water to a second, larger temporary storage tank that could be accessed by helicopters for other purposes.  The new system was completed and fully operational in May 2011, making this the second year of use.  The system operates through an underground water delivery system and above ground hoses and pods for water distribution.

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