Ben Matheson, APRN Contributor

Ben Matheson is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Aniak and Chuathbaluk are receiving favorable winds today, cutting down on the smoke and fire danger. The fire across the river from Aniak has grown to 27,000 acres.

The latest figures show 21 new fires were logged in Alaska yesterday. That brings the total to nearly 300, which are burning almost 945 square miles. Fires are growing quickly in the middle Kuskokwim. Download Audio

Fire officials are moving crews off the Whitefish Lake fire to Lower Kalskag as a staging area for protecting homes and other communities threatened by fires. Crews had been working to establish a fire line on the northern edge, but are now changing strategy. Listen now:

The Kuskokwim River’s first 6-inch drift opening happens Monday afternoon from the Johnson River down to the refuge boundary at the mouth of the river. It runs from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, June 22, 2015.

A community permit system for a limited Kuskokwim king salmon harvest begins on Wednesday. 32 communities are eligible for the permit and so far 16 communities are signed up and a few still pending for the 7,000-fish king salmon permit fishery.

King salmon are beginning to show up on the Kuskokwim River. All eyes are on the few kings that are appearing in the Bethel Test Fishery and in subsistence fishermen’s nets during limited 4-inch openings. At a Wednesday work session of the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group, members prepared for more restrictions as the run picks up and a limited directed harvest. Download Audio:

More than 100 firefighters are battling a wildfire south of Kalskag that started Sunday from lightening. It has grown to 14,200 acres. Download Audio:

The Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation is upping a reward to $20,000 for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of those responsible for the fire that destroyed the PATC alcohol treatment center. They previously offered a $5,000 reward.

More than 80 firefighters are battling a 25-hundred acre blaze near Whitefish Lake. The fire south of Kalskag and the Kuskokwim River is one of about a dozen that were started by lightening on Sunday.

State Troopers have identified the pilot who died when a Yute Air plane went down on the Kwethluk River. Megan Peters is a spokesperson for the Alaska State Troopers, which responded to the scene 40 miles southeast of Bethel.

Searchers have found the wreckage of the Yute Air plane that’s been missing since Saturday morning. A team Sunday evening spotted the Cessna 207 in the Kwethluk River, about 40 miles southeast of Bethel.

Wassillie Gregory and the City of Bethel have settled out of court related to an incident in which the man was roughly arrested by a former Bethel police officer in the AC parking lot.

Expecting another poor king salmon run, the first fishing restrictions are expected to go into effect on May 21st. With the lessons learned from 2014, managers hope to bring enough king salmon to spawning grounds and allow for limited fishing along the way. Download Audio:

A judge has dismissed the harassment conviction of a man who was roughly arrested by a former Bethel police officer in the AC parking lot. Judge Bruce Ward approved the application Monday for post conviction relief filed by Wassillie Gregory’s attorney after video surfaced last month.

A Tuluksak man shot three people, including a tribal police officer Wednesday evening.

A teacher in Kwigillingok has been arrested for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old student.

A man who was shot by Bethel police after chasing and striking an officer with a baseball bat was sentenced to three years in prison with two suspended. Aaron Moses was sentenced Friday in Bethel Superior Court. Because he’s been in custody since last summer, he will have time served credited to his sentence.

The path to unified management of Kuskokwim salmon stocks is uncharted, but along the way, the newly established Kuskokwim River Inter Tribal Fisheries Commission wants involvement at each step. That begins with tribal consultation in preparations for another summer of sacrifice. The commission’s inaugural meeting concluded Wednesday in Bethel.

Troopers say the body thought to be an Akiak woman who died last year when a 4-wheeler went into an open hole on the Kuskokwim River near Kwethluk has been recovered.

State troopers say a woman died when her 4-wheeler flipped twice and threw her from the vehicle. 34-year-old Merna Spein was driving down main street in Upper Kalskag Saturday afternoon when she lost control.