A small landslide has closed the White Pass Railroad Dock to vehicular and pedestrian traffic in Skagway. “No one was injured during the occurrence,” Marketing Manager Jacqueline Taylor-Rose wrote. “The cruise ships scheduled for the pier have made alternative plans for the day.
The fire also comes as the state of Alaska enters its second highest level of fire preparedness, based on the high number of wildfires burning statewide and the possibility for more.
It’s not often that Southcentral Alaska residents wake to thunder in the middle of the night. But what forecasters are calling an unusual storm moved from the Talkeetna Mountains into the Matanuska Valley and then Anchorage and south to the Kenai Peninsula from Wednesday night into Thursday morning. At least one lightning-caused structure fire was reported.
“It’s been hot, it’s been dry, and it’s been windy. And those winds gusts of 20 miles per hour, it’s kind of funneled through the Andreafsky River drainage,” said Beth Ipsen. Federal entities sent in more firefighters this week, and some residents are thinking about preparing their go-bags.
Two villages along the Lower Yukon River have begun evacuating their most vulnerable residents from a tundra fire.The fire late Thursday was burning less than eight miles from St Mary’s and nearby Pitkas Point, and wind continues spreading the flames closer to the villages with a combined population of over 700 people. Yute Commuter Service is sending all its planes to St. Mary’s to evacuate residents, and Grant Aviation is prepared to assist.
"Since about May 25, crews have been seeing multiple species showing what we believe are signs of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The signs we are seeing widespread is a headshaking that we equate to "getting the cobwebs out", like a person may do when they first wake up. This behavior occurs regularly every couple minutes. This behavior has been observed in: black brant, cackling geese, bar-tailed godwits, dunlin, lapland longspurs, spectacled eiders, emperor geese, greater white-fronted geese, sabines gulls, glaucous gulls, and red-necked phalaropes."
A wildlife pathologist in Saskatoon says his lab is testing several skunks and fox kits showing neurological signs that could be caused by avian flu. The transmission to mammals is not a surprise to Bollinger, who said cases have been showing up in the United States. There are other viral diseases - such as distemper and rabies - that cause similar symptoms in these species.
The Yukon is the latest place to be hit with avian flu cases as an outbreak continues to spread across the country. Officials from the department of environment said in a press release Friday that two waterfowl carcasses in southern Yukon tested positive for the H5N1 virus strand. The Yukon government is asking residents to report sightings of sick or dead birds to their TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525.
This video shot on Thursday May 19th, shows the erratic circling behavior of a Canada goose. Although the cause is unknown, this type of behavior is according to USGS, "highly suggestive" of an infection with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
Biologists say the bison population took a big hit this winter. More than a dozen were hit and killed by vehicles because the animals were using roads in lieu of their usual trails, which were covered by deep snow and ice.
An eagle that died in the Sitka National Historical Park this month tested positive for the avian influenza. A second eagle that died in the park was also tested for the virus, and results are pending.
Town officials said water levels rose to new highs on Thursday and a second surge of water in the afternoon flooded through the north end of Miron Drive, the downtown area, and Cranberry Crescent, causing property damage throughout the town. By Friday morning, the last of the ice was off the river.
The creek slide is the latest environmental incident to strike the Kenai Peninsula this week: a massive landslide in Seward on May 7 continues to block Lowell Point Road, a wildfire broke out near Sportsman’s Landing on May 8 and a separate wildfire broke out on May 10 near Wildman’s.
The couple had been watching water levels rise and fall all day, waiting for them to go down like usual. They'd finally started to relax, when the knock came. They were out of time.
Alaska State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Gerlach said they have now confirmed avian flu in several bald eagles on Unalaska in the Aleutian Islands, several Canada geese in the Anchorage area, and a Canada goose in Delta Junction.