Alaska News

Monday, June 1, 2020

Lightning ignites at least 15 fires across Alaska this weekend

Firefighters and aircraft were are busy Sunday working on two lightning-caused fires burning within 25 miles of Unlakleet with more firefighters slated to join the effort after lightning became a big factor in new fire starts in Alaska this weekend. Lightning is suspected of causing more than 15 new fires in Alaska this weekend. There were approximately 1,858 recorded lightning strikes throughout the state Saturday with Sunday's tally at more than 2,900 by 8 p.m. On Saturday, the lightning was scattered throughout a ribbon starting in the Yukon-Kukoskwim Delta north of Bethel stretching across through Central Interior with a cluster appearing north of the Mat-Su Valley. On Sunday, that area was expanded to the Canadian border as rain storms moved through the Fairbanks area in the afternoon.
Alaska Wildland Fire

Red flag warning prompts burn permit suspension in Alaska’s Interior

The Fairbanks National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the Central Interior of Alaska on Friday. The warning prompted the Alaska Fire Service to suspend burn permits. The warning and suspension was caused by hot, dry conditions and gusty winds across much of the interior. The suspension bans the use of burn barrels and brush burning. Small campfires under three-feet in diameter with flames under two-feet high are still allowed. This burn suspension comes shortly after a statewide suspension was lifted on Tuesday. According to fire information officer Tim Mowry, the statewide suspension was put in place due to concerns about how COVID-19 would affect their ability to bring up firefighters from the Lower-48. He said they have since come up with a plan and have lifted the statewide ban.
KTVF-TV NBC 11 Fairbanks

Friday, May 29, 2020

Plane carrying firefighters crashes near village of Aniak

The Alaska Division of Forestry reported that four of their employees survived a plane crash near the western Alaska village of Aniak today, May 28 at approximately 4 p.m. The DOF said the plane, owned by the DOF, crashed into the Kuskokwim River on takeoff. There were four people on board, including the pilot, and all four individuals suffered injuries. The seriousness of the injuries is unknown at this time. Alaska State Troopers and local Emergency Services personnel responded to the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have been notified. The plane, an Aero Commander 500 Shrike, was transporting emergency firefighters from two western Alaska villages to Soldotna to support initial attack wildfire responses for the Kenai/Kodiak Area Forestry station.
Fire Aviation

Firefighters stop spread of wildfire started by burning motorhome near Soldotna

Wildland firefighters from the Alaska Division of Forestry’s Kenai/Kodiak station were able to halt the spread of a small wildfire that was started when a motorhome caught fire Thursday afternoon near Soldotna. Firefighters responded to the fire at approximately 3:45 p.m. when it began to spread into the surrounding wildlands near Longmere Lake on Penny Lane. The fire was reportedly spreading toward nearby residences and there was a 500-gallon fuel tank nearby. The fire, dubbed the Penny Fire, caught a nearby garage on fire but structure firefighters from Central Emergency Services were able to contain the fire to the motorhome and garage while wildland firefighters from State Forestry were able to stop the progression of the fire that spread into the wildlands at an estimated 1 acre.
Alaska Wildland Fire

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