<![CDATA[ BLM Alaska News Release Feed ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/rss/newsreleases/ak.html BLM Alaska News Releases en-us Tue, 1 Sep 2015 16:59:36 -0600 News AK_AKSO_Public_Room@blm.gov (Alaska Info) <![CDATA[ BLM Completes Surface Clean-Up at Cape Simpson Legacy Well Sites (9-1-2015) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/september/9_1_2015_BLM_Completes_Surface_Clean-Up_at_Cape_Simpson_Legacy_Well_Sites.html http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/september/9_1_2015_BLM_Completes_Surface_Clean-Up_at_Cape_Simpson_Legacy_Well_Sites.html Tue, 1 Sep 2015 16:59:36 -0600 ANCHORAGE, Alaska - BLM Alaska has completed an important milestone in the cleanup of legacy well sites at Cape Simpson in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A). The BLM facilitated removal of surface debris at Simpson Core Test 26, 30, and 30A through an interagency agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which contracted with Alaska-owned Mahto Construction, Inc.
 
Surface debris removal and soil sampling at these sites presents a number of logistical challenges for the BLM.  The contractor collected 135 cubic yards of bentonite clay, concrete, oily debris, drums, wood, and scrap metal from the sites. The waste was removed by air lifting using a sling and helicopter to an adjacent tug and barge for off-site transportation and disposal.  Because some of the debris was located in a natural oil seep, crews had to use winches, non-sparking axes, power tools, chest waders, and even a canoe for gathering debris from within the seep.
 
“The fact that these test wells were drilled in natural oil seeps presented special challenges to this clean-up effort,” said BLM Alaska State Director Bud Cribley. “The BLM continues work to address legacy wells across the NPR-A in order to protect the public and Alaska’s environment.”

Since 2002, the BLM has plugged 21 wells and cleaned up the surface at priority legacy well sites at a cost of $99 million. The September 2013 passage of the Helium Stewardship Act included a provision to fund BLM’s legacy well cleanup efforts with $50 million through fiscal year 2019. The 2013 Legacy Wells Strategic Plan outlines priorities and actions BLM will take to clean up legacy wells in the NPR-A. The Strategic Plan can be viewed at the BLM Alaska website: www.blm.gov/ak. ]]> <![CDATA[ National Conservation and Recreation Lands Service Day (8/26/2015) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/august/national_conservation.html http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/august/national_conservation.html Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:02:57 -0600 FAIRBANKS, AK — On Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), partnering with the Northern Alaska Environmental Center and Conservation Lands Foundation, will host a one-day public service project to celebrate National Public Lands Day and the 15th anniversary of the National Conservation Lands. ]]> <![CDATA[ White Mountains Fire Closures Lifted (7/15/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/WhiteMtns_fire_closures_lifted.html http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/WhiteMtns_fire_closures_lifted.html Wed, 15 Jul 2015 17:56:34 -0600 FAIRBANKS, AK — Recent weather conditions and firefighters’ progress on the Aggie Creek Fire have led the Bureau of Land Management’s Eastern Interior Field Office to lift all remaining fire closures in the White Mountains National Recreation Area effective at 5 p.m. today. This includes the Nome Creek valley and Wickersham Dome Trailhead and nearby trails and cabins.

 
The temporary Nome Creek closure resulted from safety concerns over the U.S. Creek Fire, which is still active near the U.S. Creek Road. The fire has not grown significantly in recent weeks but can be expected to produce smoke on days when conditions are windy, hot, or dry. The BLM will continue to monitor the fire daily and will take action should the fire again pose a threat to public safety. The public is encouraged to contact the BLM if they have any concerns or need current information on this fire.
 
Two other fires, Willow Creek and Mt. Schwatka, are burning within or next to the recreation area but are located far from BLM’s summer roads, trails, and facilities.
 
Information on statewide wildfires and BLM’s temporary fire restrictions may be found at http://akfireinfo.com.
 
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<![CDATA[ BLM Closes Nome Creek Valley Again (7/11/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/Nome_Creek_closed2.html http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/Nome_Creek_closed2.html Sat, 11 Jul 2015 23:46:02 -0600 FAIRBANKS, AK — Strong winds and hot, dry weather rekindled the U.S. Creek Fire on Saturday afternoon, forcing the Bureau of Land Management’s Eastern Interior Field Office to close the Nome Creek valley in the White Mountains National Recreation Area for a second time this summer. The Nome Creek valley includes the Mt. Prindle and Ophir Creek campgrounds, Nome Creek Road, Table Top Mountain and Quartz Creek trails, and the put-in for Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River.
 
The closure took effect at 5 p.m. today. Yesterday the BLM had reopened Nome Creek valley after a period of cooler weather and rain resulted in minimal fire activity in the area.  

The western portion of the White Mountains (Wickersham Dome area) also remains closed due to the Aggie Creek Fire. Information on other Alaska wildland fires and BLM’s temporary fire restrictions may be found at http://akfireinfo.com. ]]> <![CDATA[ BLM Reopens Nome Creek Valley in the White Mountains (7/10/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/BLM_reopens_NomeCk.html http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/BLM_reopens_NomeCk.html Fri, 10 Jul 2015 14:17:52 -0600 FAIRBANKS, AK — Recent weather conditions have led the Bureau of Land Management’s Eastern Interior Field Office to reopen the Nome Creek valley in the White Mountains National Recreation Area, effective at noon today. This area includes the Mt. Prindle and Ophir Creek campgrounds, Nome Creek Road, Table Top Mountain and Quartz Creek trails, and the put-in for Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River. The western portion of the White Mountains (Wickersham Dome area) remains closed due to the Aggie Creek Fire.

 
The temporary Nome Creek closure resulted from safety concerns over the U.S. Creek Fire. That fire has been dormant since the area experienced cooler temperatures and rain this week. Should fire behavior intensify due to hotter and drier weather, the BLM may need to close the area again. High fire danger remains a concern in the White Mountains and elsewhere in Interior Alaska; the public is encouraged to be extremely cautious with campfires or any activity that could spark a wildland fire. Backcountry travelers should carry some form of communication so they can keep informed about current fire conditions and travel restrictions.
 
Information on statewide wildfires and BLM’s temporary fire restrictions may be found at http://akfireinfo.com.
 
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<![CDATA[ BLM Alaska welcomes new district managers for Anchorage, Fairbanks (7-6-2015) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/7-6-2015_BLM_Alaska_welcomes_new_district_managers_for_Anchorage__Fairbanks.html http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/7-6-2015_BLM_Alaska_welcomes_new_district_managers_for_Anchorage__Fairbanks.html Mon, 6 Jul 2015 16:02:11 -0600

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Bureau of Land Management welcomes new district managers for the BLM Alaska Anchorage and Fairbanks District Offices. ]]> <![CDATA[ BLM Reinstates Closure of Western White Mountains National Recreation Area Due to Fire Activity (7/05/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/western_Whites_closed_070515.html http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/western_Whites_closed_070515.html Sun, 5 Jul 2015 16:07:18 -0600 FAIRBANKS, AK — Due to increased activity on the Aggie Creek Fire, the Bureau of Land Management’s Eastern Interior Field Office has reinstated the temporary closure of the western portion of the White Mountains National Recreation Area. The closure includes the Wickersham Dome Trailhead (Mile 28 Elliott Highway), which is being used as a base camp for firefighters. Also closed are portions of the Wickersham Creek and Trail Creek trails, the Moose Creek Trail, Summit Trail, Lee’s Cabin, Eleazar’s Cabin, the Summit Trail Shelter, and the Wickersham Creek Trail Shelter.

 
The closure of the Nome Creek valley of the White Mountains National Recreation Area remains in effect.

Information on statewide wildfires and BLM’s temporary fire restrictions may be found at http://akfireinfo.com. ]]> <![CDATA[ BLM Lifts Eastern Interior Fire Restrictions, Reopens Western White Mountains (7/03/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/EIFO_fire_restrictions_lifted.html http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/EIFO_fire_restrictions_lifted.html Fri, 3 Jul 2015 17:31:09 -0600 FAIRBANKS, AK — Recent weather conditions have led the Bureau of Land Management’s Eastern Interior Field Office to lift the temporary restrictions on open fires and fireworks on the public lands it manages in east-central Alaska. In addition, the BLM is rescinding the temporary closure of the western portion of the White Mountains National Recreation Area. Both actions are effective at 12:01 a.m., July 4, 2015. ]]> <![CDATA[ Alaska Fire Service urges public to keep drones away from wildfires (6-29-2015) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/june/6-29-2015_Alaska_Fire_Service_urges_public_to_keep_drones_away_from_wildfires.html http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/june/6-29-2015_Alaska_Fire_Service_urges_public_to_keep_drones_away_from_wildfires.html Fri, 26 Jun 2015 19:29:47 -0600 [Fairbanks, AK] - For the second year in a row, drones flown by hobbyists have encroached in airspace and forced the shut-down of air operations over an active wildfire.

 
On June 24th, airtanker operations were suspended on a San Bernardino National Forest wildfire in southern California, after a drone flown by a member of the public was detected in the fire area. The same thing happened the next day on another nearby fire. 
 
In both cases, air operations had to be suspended for up to two hours while aviation managers scrambled to ensure that the drones were clear of the fire area. 
 
Officials are concerned that the same thing could happen in Alaska.
 
“Public use of drones is posing an increasing hazard to firefighting pilots, air crews and even ground crews,” said Kent Slaughter, manager of Alaska Fire Service (AFS) in Fairbanks. “People must understand how dangerous drones can be for people in the air.” Slaughter added that this concern is especially relevant to Alaska, where air operations are widely used.
 
Airtankers, helicopters and other aircraft are often flown at very low altitudes, typically just a few hundred feet above the ground, when fighting forest and rangeland fires. Because this is roughly the same altitude that hobbyists fly drones, it creates the potential for a midair collision that could seriously injure or kill pilots and other fire personnel.
 
Federal, state, and local wildfire managers are urging the public not to fly Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), often referred to as “drones,” within or near wildfires. “Hobby drones are usually so small, they are practically impossible for pilots to see—and avoid,” noted Slaughter. “The last thing our pilots need to worry about is the possibility of flying into a drone.”

“These aircraft simply don’t belong over or even near wildfires.” ]]> <![CDATA[ BLM begins Placer Mining Reclamation Project at Jack Wade Creek (6-29-2015) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/june/6-29-2015_BLM_begins_Placer_Mining_Reclamation_Project_at_Jack_Wade_Creek.html http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/june/6-29-2015_BLM_begins_Placer_Mining_Reclamation_Project_at_Jack_Wade_Creek.html Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:52:22 -0600 ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Alaska staff began project work June 15 on Jack Wade Creek in the Fortymile Wild and Scenic River Corridor with the goal of developing new reclamation techniques on placer-mined streams which will ultimately result in healthy fish and wildlife habitat.

 
The project was designed to accelerate the recovery of in-stream and riparian habitats in a historically mined area. The techniques used will take into account major limiting factors unique to Alaska, including significant ice accumulation and short growing seasons.
 
“We are testing new techniques with the hope that this project will help miners find new ways to approach reclamation so that streams are stable and functioning following completion of mining,” said BLM Alaska Deputy State Director for Resources Steve Cohn. “We have a great opportunity to help miners operate sustainably and provide for the recovery of public lands.”
 
Workshops are scheduled for the first week of September for miners and others to learn more about the techniques used in the project and evaluate stream recovery rates.
 
Under a contract with the Salcha-Delta Soil and Water Conservation District, local heavy equipment operators will perform the work. The work will include excavation of the stream channel, construction of riffles and pools, and transplanting of vegetation. Mobilization at the site began June 15, with completion of construction expected by the week of July 5.  
 
Additional project information will be posted and available at:  http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/prog/minerals/reclamation/jack_wade_creek.html   The date, time and location of the workshops will be announced in a news release, posted online at http://www.blm.gov/ak, and disseminated locally within the Fortymile Mining District.
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