JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska health insurance officials have announced the state's plan to weaken air ambulance membership plan regulations. CoastAlaska reports that the Alaska Division of Insurance will no longer review consumer membership plans for pre-approval. Department officials say health insurance does not cover the full cost of a flight, so air ambulance companies offer membership agreements. Officials say households pay a flat rate fee between $49 and $125 to ensure they are not paying out of pocket.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Officials say 51 homes and three businesses have been destroyed in a wildfire north of Anchorage. The fire started last weekend about 70 miles north of Anchorage. Fire information manager Kale Casey said another 84 outbuildings have been destroyed. Hundreds of people have been evacuated because of the fire that started Sunday.

SOLDOTNA, Alaska (AP) - A wildfire in south-central Alaska has threatened multiple businesses in a nearby community. KSRM-AM reported Friday that wildfire smoke and sporadic highway closures have caused visitors to cancel trips, and fishing guides and other businesses in Cooper Landing are starting to suffer. Officials say the fire has burned about 222 square miles south of Anchorage in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Authorities say the flames were invigorated since a lightning strike ignited the fire in June.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The 78-year-old musher who has been denied entry into next year's Iditarod is disputing reasons why he can't compete. Race officials denied entry to Jim Lanier over dog care concerns. They based their decision on his 2018 race and reports from this year's Yukon Quest. Lanier says he has completed his last two races and disputes the report from Yukon Quest officials. He says he understands dog care concerns, but says those worries are unfounded in his case.

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