Alaska News Nightly: Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019

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Alaska wildfire officials reassess cause of McKinley fire

Associated Press

Alaska wildfire officials are reviewing their initial assessment of the cause of the McKinley fire, which burned at least 50 structures along the Parks Highway.

‘Nothing survived. It’s just ash.’ In a trickle of information, fire evacuees learn fate of homes

Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Fire managers said this afternoon it will be four to six days at the earliest before residents who evacuated from the McKinley fire can return to their properties.

Wildfires crimp Alaska’s major transportation corridor, halting tourist operations, delaying groceries

Elizabeth Harball, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Wildfires in Southcentral Alaska are causing major traffic problems on some of the region’s busiest roads, affecting locals, buses filled with tourists and trucks trying to re-supply grocery stores.

5,000-acre fire continues to burn outside Levelock

Isabelle Ross, KDLG – Dillingham

A wildfire estimated at 5,000 acres continues to burn at the edge of the Bristol Bay village of Levelock. At 9:00 p.m. last night, those fighting the fire reported that it had crossed some of the control lines on the west side of the village, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.

Dunleavy repeats calls for closing budget gap, paying full dividends

Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO – Juneau

Governor Mike Dunleavy says next year he’d like to close the billion-plus-dollar state budget gap.

University of Alaska regents vote to end financial exigency

Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

The University of Alaska Board of Regents unanimously approved a motion to end financial exigency. The vote overturns a declaration that allowed for the expedited elimination of academic programs and firing of faculty, even those with tenure.

EPA hears testimony on air plan

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler visited Fairbanks yesterday to gather input on a new plan to reduce local wintertime fine particulate pollution.

Alaskan Joe Balash resigns as assistant secretary of Interior

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

One of the highest placed Alaskans in the Trump administration has resigned.

Dunleavy vetoes ferry funding added by the Legislature in the wake of cuts

Jacob Resneck, CoastAlaska – Juneau

The legislature’s attempt to add funding to the Alaska Marine Highway System has been blocked. Gov. Mike Dunleavy used his line item veto power to eliminate $5 million added by lawmakers in the wake of a $40 million cut that could mean long gaps in service.

Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney visits Nome to discuss public safety

Emily Hofstaedter, KNOM – Nome

Tara Sweeney, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the US Department of the Interior visited Nome yesterday for an event called “Reclaiming Our Native Communities”, a roundtable discussion on public safety hosted by Kawerak.