Alaska News Nightly: June 19, 2015

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

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Progress Being Made To Contain Sockeye Fire

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
The Sockeye fire near Willow is five percent contained.  Fire information officer Sarah Sarloos says the progress is made at the Northern portion of the perimeter.  But a recent windshift could change that.  Sarloos says the wind is from the South pushing North, with gusts of 20 mph, and that could test the gains made by firefighters.

Anatomy of the Wildland Firefight in Willow

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage
Officials lifted the evacuation order over parts of Willow where threats from the Sockeye fire have lessened. As responders chip away at the blaze, KSKA’s Zachariah Hughes spoke with the front-line responders that have worked around the clock since it’s rapid spread last week.

Evacuation Notices Lifted Near Card Street Fire

Shaylon Cochran, KDLL – Kenai
The Card Street Fire near Sterling is still officially tabbed at zero-percent contained, but most evacuation notices have been lifted. The Kenai Peninsula Borough made a local disaster declaration Thursday night to get help with relief efforts. As KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran reports, the fire continues to push away from homes and into the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Vets, Lawmakers Irate Over New VA ‘Choice’ Program

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington
When the scandal erupted last year over long wait lists at the Phoenix VA, Alaska was found to have quite short wait times.  The Alaska VA has for years been buying care for veterans outside the VA, at community and private-sector clinics, and especially through the Native health care system. Care Closer to Home, it’s called. That’s the model Congress chose when it passed the Veterans Choice Act last year. But as the new Choice program spreads across the country and takes hold in Alaska, vets and providers say it’s undoing parts of the Alaska-grown system that have worked well.

Dead Whales Near Kodiak Island Pose Mystery
Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak
At least 10 Fin whales are dead, having fallen victim to a mysterious affliction that seems to have killed them all near Kodiak Island. Kate Wynn, marine mammal specialist with the University of Alaska in Kodiak, said all the whales seemed to have met their fate at the same time and place.

AK: Citizen Scientists Deploy ‘Bat Mobiles’ In Southeast

Emily Files, KHNS – Haines
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is stepping up its research on bats in Southeast. The nocturnal, bug eating animal is being threatened in the Lower 48 by a disease called White-Nose Syndrome.

49 Voices: Adine Fullerton of Willow

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage and Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Now it’s time for 49 voices. This week, we’re hearing from  Adine Fullerton, a Willow resident who evacuated her home on Monday because of the Sockeye fire. Adine left with three kids, five dogs, two cats, a hamster. She had to leave three tarantulas behind. When we talked to her she had just discovered her home was spared, along with the spiders. Adine Fullerton evacuated from her home in Willow because of the Sockeye fire.