Moose Cam

The Moose stalks at midnight


The only way to Smoke

Artwork by Ray Troll


Wildfire Prevention Week

Alaska may have only two seasons: Winter and Wildfire

A recent fire started off of Chena Hot Springs Road, outside of Fairbanks

This week is Wildfire Prevention Week in Alaska. We have already seen some burn bans in the Interior, although not around Fairbanks yet. Amazing how quickly the ember turns up here, as we still seem to be slogging through breakup.

Graph Credit: Alaska Division of Forestry

As of Monday, Alaska has had 60 fires start up this fire season within the state. Of those, 55 have been human-caused. Only two fires were determined to be caused by lightning, and there have been three fires where a cause has not been determined, as of this writing.

Lightning strikes, but so far only two confirmed wildfires from lightning

Thunderstorms have returned to the Interior, and we did get almost 40 strikes on Saturday. Also last week, the first coal seam fire of the season was detected down by Healy, which is just north of Denali National Park. The coal seam fire was extinguished by water drop. It is the site of several coal seam fires in recent years.

After going through a long winter, nothing gets Alaskans crankier than a smoke filled summer. Mother Nature does not need help in the area of wildfire ignition, so let’s not add to the burned acreage with laziness and thoughtless behavior.


Long Days & Sunny Nights

FAA Weather Cam at Utqiagvik

On Monday, the sun rose at 2:53 am over Utqiagvik, the community formally known as Barrow. The sun will set in 83 days.

Another fun fact: Utqiagvik holds the record for the coldest day with 24 hours of daylight: Temps dropped to -12F on 15 May 1965. Not to be outdone, Deadhorse tied the record in May of 2013.


Green Up!

Graphic credit: NWS-Fairbanks

Green Up was officially declared on Sunday here in Fairbanks. A quirk maybe of Interior Alaska, our tree buds explode with green all at once, due to the wonderfully long days we have this time of year. We literally go from brown tree limbs to vibrant green forests, as if a switch is being flipped.

This is our official declaration of summer. Cheers!


Welcome Back

Film Friday:

Ducks, geese, swans and cranes have all come back to the neighborhood. The back pond still has ice, although it’s looking more than a bit dodgy and should go out this weekend. The beaver is patrolling the edges, occasionally flushing a pair of mallards from the open water to the ice, where they stand patiently waiting for the open water to be beaver free. Even the gulls are back, swooping low over the pond’s edge looking for the perfect nesting spot.

Spring has indeed arrived in the Far North.

Camera: Leica M3; Film: Kodak 35mm, Ektar100


The return of the Sandhill Cranes

A pair of Sandhill Cranes surrounded by ducks and geese at Creamers Field

On Monday morning, when I was getting things ready for the day’s job, I heard the first Sandhill Crane calls of the season. Their ancient, rattling bugle echoed across the valley floor, and I stopped immediately to search for the source. It was a pair of cranes, and they flew in low as they announced their return to the valley.

By Tuesday morning, the sounds of the sandhills could be heard from all directions in the valley.

The photo was taken last spring at Creamers Field Waterfowl Refuge before the birds spread out across the state and beyond.

Camera: Leica M3; Film: Kodak 35mm, Ektar 100

Listen to the sounds of the sandhill cranes


May the 4th be with You

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Family photo courtesy of Land Rover

*Cries of dismay can be heard from current LR model owners…


The ice has gone out in Nenana

The Nenana Ice Cam on 21 April 2021

The ice has gone out on the Tanana River in Nenana, Alaska. Officially, the tripod moved enough downstream to trip the clock at 12:50 AST on April 30. The jackpot for the 2021 Nenana Ice Classic is $233,591.

Nenana Ice Cam on 2 May, 2021


The Swans have landed

Camera: Leica M3; Film: Kodak 35mm, Ektar 100