Science & Environment

Science and environmental reporting on news and community topics. Science coverage is occasionally provided by community members.

Hope McKenney/KUCB

Unalaska's fire department ruled Friday's large brush fire past Morris Cove an accident. 

The fire was started around 4:30 p.m. on Split Top Mountain by two kayakers. According to Patrick Shipp, fire chief at the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, they were kayaking in the area when the wind picked up and they went to shore. 

Berett Wilber/KUCB

Officials at Unalaska's fire department are monitoring a large brush fire that started Friday afternoon out past Morris Cove.

Patrick Shipp, fire chief at the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, said two kayakers notified the department at around 4:30 p.m. that a fire was burning in a steep ravine on the far side of the cove. Upon arrival, crews determined it was inaccessible to fire personnel.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

After two months of activity, Pavlof Volcano has been downgraded to a "normal" alert level.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) issued an "advisory" for the volcano — which is located about 35 miles from Cold Bay — in December. But over the past several weeks, seismic activity steadily decreased.

The last observable sign was what the AVO calls "minor steam emissions," which occurred in late February. Since then, there have been no signs of activity at the volcano. 

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Trident Seafoods is investigating an ammonia leak at its processing plant in Akutan.

About 5,000 pounds of the gas spilled in late January, according to Crystal Smith of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

She said the plant was conducting a purge of its refrigeration system when company officials noticed the coolant was gone.

Hope McKenney/KUCB

Updated 2/25/20 at 9:20 p.m. 

An Unalaska man was killed in an avalanche Tuesday evening while he was snowmachining in the Unalaska Valley.

Trey Henning, 21, was buried in the avalanche and later recovered from the site near the quarry on Overland Drive. In a statement, the Department of Public Safety said life-saving measures were unsuccessful.