Alaska News

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

84 wildfires burning in US, 58 in Alaska; many started by lightning

84 wildfires continue to blaze across the nation, 58 of which are in Alaska, including the largest wildfire in the country. To put it into perspective: over 1.4 million acres have burned in Alaska out the total 2,113,793 acres burned for the entire country in 2019. In Alaska, many of these fires started after lightning strikes in the area, according to the latest info from the National Interagency Fire Center situation report on July 15. More than 4,000 lightning strikes were recorded across Alaska since this Sunday, many of which struck the Interior, according to AK Fire Info. The agency also states there are 30 fires burning in the Upper Yukon Zone, most of which are not a threat to people or property.
KTVA-TV CBS 11 Anchorage

Truck fire at Valdez refinery remains under investigation

The cause of a fire in a truck taking on fuel at a Valdez refinery last week remains under investigation, local officials say. Reports of an explosion and fire at the Petro Star Refinery on Dayville Road came in at 8:32 p.m. Thursday, according to the Valdez Fire Department. Responders arrived about five minutes later to find a fire involving a highway cargo tanker truck parked inside the loading facility. An Alyeska Fire & Rescue engine also responded. No injuries were reported. The fire was brought under control at 8:49 p.m., according to the department. The last crews left the scene before midnight. The truck’s operator was starting to load diesel into the forward cargo tank when the fire started, according to Allie Ferko, a city spokeswoman. The rear tank was empty. Damage was limited to the truck and the loading bay it occupied, Ferko said.
Alaska Dispatch News - Metered Site

Monday, July 15, 2019

Crews at Northway Helibase make effort to fight back Boundary River Fire blaze

Far from the evacuations and high profile fires raging across Alaska, down a remote chipseal road sandwiched 42 miles west of the Canadian border and 50 miles east of the nearest town of Tok, efforts are ongoing to gain ground on the remote Boundary River Fire. About 9 miles from the village of Northway, population around 100, the lightning-caused fire is a Type III Incident and was estimated at 15,000 acres as of July 9. Fire crews have been deployed to protect native allotments which are home to cabins, cultural camps and burial grounds, as well as hedge against a potential run toward the village. Straddling the border with Canada is the larger 27,000-acre McArthur Fire, which has been the site of limited firefighting efforts. But lacking adequate road access, fire officials must rely almost entirely on helicopters to transport personnel and gear into, and out of, the wilderness. Northway Airport, dating back to the mid-1940s, became the center of activity with the transformation into Northway Helibase.
Fairbanks News-Miner - Metered Site

Anchorage firefighters continue responding to calls about smoke

Fire crews have been very busy across Anchorage as the dry weather continues. Anchorage Fire Department Assistant Chief Alex Boyd says the department gets at least one call a day about smoke in the area around Mountain View Drive and the Glenn Highway, west of Boniface Parkway. "We're really in the same place we were in a week ago. Conditions are still very dry and very dangerous." Even though temperatures are cooler, the ground is still very dry and not collecting enough moisture, meaning firefighters are combating fires that look like they've already been put out. "Those fires, they will smolder in the ground until they find enough dry material, and they'll start back up. We usually don't see that because the ground moisture is a lot higher, so we are seeing a lot more of that type fire coming up, old camp fires that have reawakened that weren't fully put out to begin with, and the moisture didn't help that, so we are seeing a lot of that." Boyd says they are able to take care of those quickly thanks to help from the community.
KTVA-TV CBS 11 Anchorage

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