Alaska News Nightly: May 26, 2014

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @aprn.

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Funny River Fire Burns More than 158,000 Acres
Shady Grove Oliver, KBBI – Homer

The Funny River Fire continued to burn the central Kenai Peninsula this week. As of Monday afternoon, it’s estimated to have burned more than 158,000 acres with 30% containment. On Sunday afternoon, Funny River Road from Mile 7 to the end of the road was evacuated. The Kenai Keys area also was put on evacuation alert.

Anchorage Air Quality Affected by Funny River Fire
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Smoke from the Kenai Peninsula wildfire drifted into Anchorage and Eagle River this weekend. The Anchorage Municipal air quality hot line reported Monday afternoon that conditions in Anchorage are considered moderate, but for Eagle River residents, the index is 110, which means the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups. Providence Hospital pulmunologist Dr. Mark Martynowicz said people with sensitive respiratory systems should be cautious about spending time outdoors.

Tyonek Fire Almost Contained
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

The Tyonek Fire, which started a week ago Monday, is currently burning at just over 1,900 acres. The blaze is between the villages of Tyonek and Beluga. State fire information officer Sam Harrel said the fire is considered to be 70% contained with full containment expected by Wednesday.

China Lifts Ban on AK Shellfish
The Associated Press

China has lifted a five month-long ban on live shellfish from U.S. West Coast waters. U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) released a statement Friday saying the ban had been lifted. The ban had particularly affected the Washington and Alaska shellfish industry.

Feds Updating Development Scenarios for Chukchi
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

The federal government on Friday released a status update on the court ordered revision of an Environmental Impact Statement for Lease Sale 193 in the Chukchi Sea. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found in an April ruling that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) had underestimated how much oil may be recoverable in Arctic Ocean development.

New Fisheries Might Be Headed to Unalaska
Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB – Unalaska

Next year will likely bring new fisheries to the western Aleutian Islands, now that the National Marine Fisheries Service has issued its final report on the way commercial fishing affects an endangered population of Steller sea lions.

Label Certifies Much of AK Salmon
Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham

The leading global seafood sustainability label currently certifies much of Alaska’s salmon harvest as sustainable. But only a few companies can use the label.

StoryCorps:  Paratrooper Justin Hayward Connaher

StoryCorps traveled to Alaska in February to record the voices of our service men and women. At five, Justin Hayward Connaher knew he was going to be a paratrooper.  At 38, he considers himself a survivor.  As part of StoryCorps at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Justin spoke with his friend John Pennell about one of his earliest jumps.