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Episode 8: Heartache and Hope from the Wildfire Front Lines

By KTVA Alaska 12:39 PM June 21, 2015

It’s been a week of heartache and hope on the front lines of two wildfires burning in Southcentral Alaska, both of them man-caused. And the summer fire season has only begun.

On this week’s episode of Frontiers, get a firsthand understanding of the magnitude of these two disasters — the Sockeye Fire near Willow in the Susitna Valley and the Card Street Fire on the Kenai Peninsula.

Watch how the Sockeye fire begins with just a few acres in the heart of Alaska’s dog mushing community. See how it raced across parched stands of spruce to claim 26 homes and more than 7,000 acres.

Also on Frontiers, watch personal stories from the front lines – neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping strangers – how mushers like DeeDee Jonrowe lost everything – and how one couple, Justin and Jaimee High, lost the home they had just rebuilt, after their first home was destroyed in a fire this past December.

Our guest this week is Vern Halter, who brings two perspectives, that of a veteran Iditarod musher and a Mat-Su Borough Assemblyman. Though devastating, Halter says early and aggressive action in the Sockeye Fire — and the community’s outpouring of aid – makes it a textbook case on how to respond to a wildfire.

Halter also looks at the lessons learned from the 1996 Miller’s Reach fire, which destroyed more than 300 homes.

And for information about how to help those who lost their homes in the fires, watch our Web Extra interview with Jeremy Zidek, who works with the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Zidek also explains how people can apply for assistance.

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