Just a basic, down to Earth, laid back type of guy here, who loves the outdoors, the indoors, jazz on the turntable, a fire in the woodstove, the northern lights blazing across the sky, and the company of good friends.
Alaska may have only two seasons: Winter and Wildfire
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Astronaut Michael Collins, the command module pilot for the Apollo 11 moon landing mission, passed away on Wednesday. Collins was 90.
“I am too old to fly to Mars, and I regret that. But I still think I have been very, very lucky. I was born in the days of biplanes and Buck Rogers, learned to fly in the early jets, and hit my peak when moon rockets came along. That’s hard to beat.” —Michael Collins