Alaska News

Friday, April 16, 2021

Houston Fire loses longtime firefighter to cancer

The Houston Fire Department recently announced the sudden death of John Johnson, a longtime firefighter and active community volunteer. Johnson died after a year-long battle with cancer Tuesday, April 13. “He defined public servant,” Houston Fire Chief Christian Hartley said. Hartley said that Johnson died just two days after his 68th birthday, taking everyone by surprise. He said Johnson’s sad and untimely death will be felt across the community he served for many years. “He was able to be home when he passed but it was rapid. I mean, Saturday he was talking to people and joking with people, and Tuesday he was gone,” Hartley said. Hartley said that firefighters had been helping around the house during Johnson’s final days and it happened to occur during a training day, so they were able to notify the department right away.
Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman - Metered Site

Alaskan forests may store more carbon after being burned by wildfire

As the boreal forests of Alaska recover from wildfires, they may shift from containing mostly coniferous trees to a deciduous-coniferous mix – and this change could ultimately offset some of the carbon emitted during the fires. Climate change is making wildfires more frequent and intense in certain parts of the world, such as the boreal forests of the Arctic. These forests typically act as carbon sinks, but if fires burn deep into their soil, they could begin to release more carbon into the atmosphere than they store through new wood growth, accelerating the effects of climate change. Michelle Mack at Northern Arizona University and her team assessed the Alaskan boreal forest, which is experiencing more frequent fires, to see how the blazes are affecting forest recovery and carbon storage.
News Scientist

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Wait times for 911 calls have dropped significantly due to higher dispatch staffing, Anchorage police say

It now takes about half as much time for police dispatchers to answer 911 calls as it did during recent peaks just a couple years ago, officials with the Anchorage Police Department said this week. Wait times began to rise after 2015 and peaked in late 2018 and mid-2019, when it took up to 21 seconds on average for dispatchers to answer incoming 911 calls, according to data provided by the department. The average wait time has steadily decreased since last summer and was about 8.6 seconds in February, according to APD. “If you’re the citizen and someone’s having a heart attack in front of you, or your baby’s not breathing, or your house is on fire, you expect to call 911 and have a voice on the other end of the phone. ... The quicker we can answer the call, the quicker we get the help that people need,” said Amy Foraker, the department’s dispatch manager.
Anchorage Daily News

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