There are a few fires in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta so far this fire season, a couple of them in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge: on the coast north of Newtok and north of Akiachak. The Gweek Fire has grown over 75 acres and was listed as covering a total of 80 acres on Sunday. The Anerkochik River Fire was reported on June 6 and has not been flown. None of these fires are staffed.
It’s been an uneventful breakup on the Kuskokwim River this spring. And that breakup looks to be nearing its end, except in the headwaters, where a large snowmelt could push driftwood to the lower river.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Tuluksak today, but elder and Bethel Search and Rescue volunteer Peter Atchak says that the community shouldn’t expect the river to rise further. He surveyed the Kuskokwim by plane on Tuesday morning and then sat down with KYUK to give a report.
The National Weather Service in Anchorage has issued a flood warning on the Kuskokwim River for the village of Tuluksak. Water levels have risen 6 feet since 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning and are continuing to rise rapidly due to an ice jam downstream. Water levels have spilled over the bank and are flooding the village's main road and threatening homes and low lying areas of the village. Residents are relocating due to imminent flooding at this time. The flood warning remains in effect until 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
State agencies are recommending no subsistence activities in fuel-contaminated areas around the village of Scammon Bay until breakup is complete. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the state Department of Health and Social Services have issued a community advisory and posted fact sheets around the town with this information.
Bethel is celebrating its Breakup Bash tonight; boats are already cruising the river between Bethel and Kwethluk; and more boats are expected to head out this weekend. But that does not mean that breakup is over. The water Bethel is seeing is just one open segment of a river still full of significant ice cover.