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An uncontrolled wildfire in the tiny village of Chiniak on Kodiak Island destroyed several structures, forced evacuations and closed roads in less than 12 hours overnight, authorities said early Friday.  Chiniak residents began evacuating around 11 p.m. Thursday. Early Friday morning, the Kodiak Police Department urged people remaining in the community of about 50 to leave quickly as the fire was moving rapidly.Read more: Wildfire destroys structures in Kodiak Island village, prompts evacuation
Alaska Dispatch News
An uncontrolled wildfire in the tiny village of Chiniak on Kodiak Island, Alaska destroyed several structures, forced evacuations and closed roads in less than 12 hours overnight, authorities said early Friday.
Bill Roth
At Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing is hosting a week-long multinational humanitarian exercise for the first time in North America this week. The biannual Pacific Airlift Rally includes 14 Pacific Rim nations and is intended to sharpen coordination for future humanitarian airlifts.  
Maya Evoy
I tested a couple of different versions of focaccia before landing on the right one.
Bill Roth
Livestock and crops were moved into the barn at the Alaska State Fair grounds in Palmer on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in preparation for the noon opening on Thursday.
Alaska Dispatch News
East beat Eagle River in three straight games in Cook Inlet Conference volleyball Wednesday at Eagle River.
Alaska Dispatch News

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Somewhere among the ridges of sea ice, more than 20 miles from shore in the Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast, an orange six-person raft is floating. But instead of a person, the small vessel’s passenger is a thermal dummy, designed to imitate a human heat signature.In the grey sky 500 feet above, an unmanned aircraft flies a search pattern, scanning the Beaufort Sea for signs of the simulated survivor. Operators of the Puma drone, working from an installation at Oliktok Point and also aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy monitor live feeds from the aircraft’s camera and from its infrared sensors. The rescuers-in-training look for signs of the lifeboat they know is out there.Spotting the speck of orange amid the white ice and dark patches of open water proves difficult, but after concerted efforts, operators vector the drone to the raft’s coordinates and once the drone is above it, the raft appears on the search and rescue team’s monitor.Two helicopters stationed at the Arctic Shield forward operating location in Deadhorse are dispatched to the location, and Coast Guard personnel rappel down to recover the mock survivor.Read more: Drone exercise tests Coast Guard's Arctic rescue capabilities
Tara Young,Donna Freedman
Scott Jensen

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In a full hotel ballroom in downtown Anchorage Tuesday morning, about 200 people erupted into applause for a senator who traveled more than 4,000 miles from Washington, D.C., to preach about leaving them alone. “So I stood on the Senate floor for 10 1/2 hours -- my feet are still sore…to defend your right to be left alone,” said Sen. Rand Paul R-Kentucky, who is running for the Republican nomination to be president of the United States. This spring, Paul took to the Senate floor to filibuster renewal of the Patriot Act, a George W. Bush-era surveillance law. He was ultimately unsuccessful in stopping the government from gathering phone records, but he hasn't given up on the idea. This week Paul veered off the usual course for presidential candidates and headed west, away from early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that dominate early campaign stops. He landed in Anchorage late Monday night, and held a fundraising breakfast first thing Tuesday morning.   Paul’s Anchorage stop was his first in the state -- he caught a plane to Fairbanks immediately after a speech at the downtown Sheraton. He planned to continue his trip across the west, to Washington, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. States, he said, that share “the same sort of independent, rugged individualism.” READ MORE: Republican presidential candidate Paul wants to leave Alaskans alone
Scott Jensen

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In a full hotel ballroom in downtown Anchorage Tuesday morning, about 200 people erupted into applause for Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, who traveled more than 4,000 miles from Washington, D.C., to preach about  leaving them alone. This week Paul veered of the usual course for presidential candidates and headed west, away from early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that dominate early campaign stops. He landed in Anchorage late Monday night, and held a fundraising breakfast first thing Tuesday morning. Then he headed to Fairbanks. Paul said his message stands in contrast to President Barack Obama, who will touch down in Alaska next week to talk, in part, about climate change. Read more: Presidential candidate Rand Paul wants to leave Alaskans alone
Tara Young

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Heading outdoors to do a little shooting?  Fly fishing? Hunting? Archery? Rapelling?  Just need to survive Alaska’s wilderness?You need skills, and a state program run with support of the Outdoors Heritage Foundation aims to teach them in a friendly, supportive environment. The Becoming an Outdoors Woman program, or BOW, aims to teach the skills women (men can enroll, too) need to thrive in the outdoors and embrace new challenges.“When I first got here I was nervous,” said Haley Heniff of Fairbanks, who enrolled in her second immersion weekend Aug. 7-9 at the Lost Lake Scout Camp on the Kenai Peninsula. “There’s so many people and we all come from different backgrounds, we’re all different ages.“We all don’t know each other but within 10 minutes you feel so comfortable, and everyone is open and accepting. We have … someone who’s a pro at something to a complete novice, and we’re all completely comfortable with each other.”  Read more: Becoming an Outdoors Woman Watch this video on YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Alaska Dispatch News

Grizzly Bear rolling down a hill at Denali National Park.

Visitors at Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve got a pleasant surprise earlier this month when a brown bear began rolling down a grassy hill.Minnesotan David Pangborn captured the moment on video after taking dozens of still images.“This was the first bear that we had come across,” Pangborn said. “The bus driver stopped and parked the bus and we proceeded to watch the bear do this for 20 or so minutes.” Park-goers can be heard laughing with delight at this most unexpected spectacle.To submit your video to Alaska Dispatch News contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.

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