Arial footage shows extent of McHugh fire

Jul 26, 2016

Here's a link to some arial footage of the McHugh fire with narration from a firefighter's perspective. It shows the setting of the fire amid steep mountains near Cook Inlet, its location and size, as well as a a helicopter dropping water, and Dall sheep grazing near burned out areas.

Unemployment last month held steady with the same rate as in May, at 6-point-seven percent, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. That’s up a tad from seven months before that that held steady at 6-point-6 percent unemployment, indicating the Alaska economy is slowly responding to the decline in oil prices and production and state budget cuts. Typically, the summer season adds about 16,500 jobs in May and June.

Nationally, unemployment was 4- point -9 percent.

KNBA News - Rain helps firefighters at McHugh wildfire

Jul 22, 2016

Firefighters have gone on the offensive on the McHugh fire, south of Anchorage, aided by cooler temperatures and a light rain that is forecast to become steady and widespread today. Rainy conditions are expected to continue into next week.

Firefighters are working on steep, rocky slopes littered with downed trees. The rain is loosening rocks so the Seward Highway is open but may be closed temporarily from time to time to clear debris.

The fire has not grown since yesterday and remains at an estimated 842 acres. It’s five percent contained.

July 21, 2016

By Joaqlin Estus, KNBA - Anchorage

The rain is just the break needed to change the outlook for the McHugh fire south of Anchorage. Officials are now optimistic they can get the fire under control and protect nearby structures.

The Seward Highway is open but officials say it may be temporarily closed at any time to remove debris. Officials have closed turnouts in the area and ask motorists not to stop to watch or photograph the fire.

July 21, 2016

“Big Bob” Robert Aiken honored at World Eskimo Indian Olympics

By Robyne, KUAC – Fairbanks

By Joaqlin Estus

Gusts of 30 to 35 miles per hour have kept the McHugh Creek fire just south of Anchorage going, but light showers forecast for this afternoon are expected to help.

As of 7 p.m. Yesterday, the fire was 842 acres. Blackhawk helicopters have been dropping bucket-loads of water to keep it from moving closer to area structures. It’s about a mile from Potter Valley to the west and the Rainbow Valley subdivision to the east.

By Joaqlin Estus

Through the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, or ANSEP, middle-school students learn through hands-on activities that teach them science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In a two-week academy they learned how to build a computer and test structures in earthquake simulations.

Fifty-six students are wrapping up a 5-day session in which they assemble motors, batteries and controls to create an unmanned aerial vehicle, otherwise known as a drone. Then they test them.

KNBA News - McHugh Fire update

Jul 20, 2016

by Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media, and Joaqlin Estus, KNBA Anchorage

The McHugh wildfire continues to burn uncontained south of Anchorage.

Both lanes of the Seward Highway were opened last night [Tuesday]. Falling rocks, dense smoke, and fire activity near the road do create hazardous conditions so officials are asking people to avoid the area from Milepost 108 to 113.

Power outage affects tens of thousands in Anchorage

Jul 17, 2016

Tens of thousands of people in south, west, and midtown Anchorage were without power for less than an hour Sunday evening. Municipal Light and Power spokesperson Julie Harris says the outage started at the Southcentral Power Plant near Minnesota and International Airport Drive.

“The cause of why it tripped is still under investigation,” said Harris.

Electrical power companies along the railbelt from Homer to Fairbanks plug into the same grid. Julie Hasquet, a spokesperson for Chugach Electric spokesperson,  says the system was rebooted to prevent extensive damage.

By Emily Files, KHNS - Haines

A Haines tribe is calling a recent decision by a U.S. Court of Appeals a “historic victory.” The Chilkoot Indian Association was among five plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging what is known as the “Alaska exception” – which prohibited Alaska tribes from placing their lands into federal trust. After years of litigation, including an appeal from the state, the federal court sided with the tribes. Alaska tribes can now petition for sovereignty over their lands.