Alaska News

Monday, January 27, 2020

Lights, sirens, tacos: A day in the life of Fairbanks firefighters

On a cold winter morning in January, I went to the Fairbanks Fire Department to spend the day with the men and women who put their lives on the line to fight fires. I went inside and was greeted by Captain Zac Rittel, driver Nick Clark and firefighter Brian Winn, I would be spending what turned out to be a slow day at the station with these three. Throughout the day I would meet more of the firefighters on the crew but I went everywhere with Rittel, Clark and Winn. They were assigned to Engine 1. After introductions I was taken to get a set of gear and then settled in to learn about what it looks like to be a firefighter. While the day had less calls than usual, it gave me the chance to see the other side of fire station life. We always see firefighters and EMS on the side of the road responding to accidents, dragging hoses as they work to put out a blaze, or when they are called to give lifesaving aid to a sick person. But, what about when they aren’t doing those things.
KTVF-TV NBC 11 Fairbanks

Alaska is drought free for the first time since 2018

The longest duration of a drought on record in Alaska has finally ended. The drought that started on July 17, 2018 continued to worsen through the summer, which not only intensified wildfires on the Kenai Peninsula and across portions of the state but also led to some water restrictions. Now for the first time since then, none of Alaska is experiencing any drought conditions. At its peak the drought even led to the first extreme drought ever recorded in Alaska, with the most intense period occurring during the week of Aug. 27, 2019 where an exceptional drought affected 1.5% of Alaska. The drought intensified during the summer due in large part to a blocking high across the Gulf of Alaska. This not only exacerbated fire conditions across the Kenai Peninsula, but led to a record high of 90 degrees and dangerous air quality levels due to wildfire smoke.
KTVA-TV CBS 11 Anchorage

Friday, January 24, 2020

Column: 8 things to know about the deployment of US firefighters to Australia

In Australia, wildfires have been raging out of control since September during the continent’s hottest year on record. The flames have claimed 30 lives so far and destroyed more than 2,500 homes. Here’s what you should know about the deployment of U.S. firefighters: 1. Three U.S. firefighters have lost their lives. On Jan. 23, an aerial tanker crashed in the mountains near the Australian capital of Canberra, killing all on board, including three U.S. firefighters. 2. Australia has helped the U.S. in the past. In 2018, the Australian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council sent 139 firefighters to help with wildfires in California. The two countries have been trading fire service assistance for the last 15 years. 3. Only federal employees can be mobilized by the U.S. Under the terms of the plan, "Wildfire Arrangement Between the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture of the United States of America and the Australian and New Zealand Participating Agencies," only federal employees are eligible to be mobilized by the U.S. government.
Fire Rescue 1

Sign up to subscribe to custom state Daily Dispatch emails for free

click to subscribe