3 Compelling Stories from Home & Away
By Emily Maxwell
ALASKA – From adn.com
Firefighters halt Swan Lake fire’s growth toward Sterling, work to keep blaze away from highway
Firefighters have halted the 23,210-acre Swan Lake wildfire on the Kenai Peninsula from advancing toward Sterling, Alaska state agencies said Saturday.
While the fire in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge continues to grow on its eastern flank, it has not grown on its southwest corner — near the community of Sterling — in several days.
“They got that corner locked off,” said Kale Casey, a spokesman for the Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team. “That’s the big news we want to make sure nobody misinterprets.”
The fire is four miles north of the Sterling Highway, and has been moving toward it, Casey said. The next challenge for firefighting crews will be to halt growth in that direction.
“They are working their tails off to prevent it from making a push toward the Sterling Highway,” Casey said.
The Swan Lake fire started June 5 and was caused by lightning. Travel along part of the Sterling Highway was limited Friday morning because of heavy smoke, but the highway was reopened the same day.
NATIONAL – From usnews.com
Cancer-Causing Ingredient in Weedkiller Found in Cheerios
Almost two dozen cereal and snack products were found to contain glyphosate, the cancer-causing ingredient in the weed killer Roundup.
An analysis released today by the Environmental Working Group’s Children’s Health Initiative found that 21 of General Mills’ oat-based cereals and snacks were contaminated with glyphosate and all but four products contained levels higher than what EWG scientists consider safe for children. The nonprofit environmental research organization’s benchmark for levels of the ingredient deemed safe for kids is no more than 160 parts per billion.
The ingredient used in the weedkiller, which is sprayed on oats before harvest as a drying agent, was classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015. It was classified as a known carcinogenic by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment in 2017.
There have been several lawsuits brought against Roundup’s manufacturer Bayer-Monsanto alleging that its weedkiller causes cancer and that the company has known about it for years. More than $2.2 billion has been awarded to victims.
INTERNATIONAL – from apnews.com
Trash Mountain: Abandoned tents add to detritus on Everest
After every party it’s time to clean up and Mount Everest is no different. The record number of climbers crowding the world’s highest mountain this season has left a government cleanup crew grappling with how to clear away everything from abandoned tents to human waste that threatens drinking water.
Budget expedition companies charge as little as $30,000 per climber, cutting costs including waste removal. Everest has so much garbage — depleted oxygen cylinders, food packaging, rope — that climbers use the trash as a kind of signpost. But this year’s haul from an estimated 700 climbers, guides and porters on the mountain has been a shock to the ethnic Sherpas who worked on the government’s cleanup drive this spring.
Exhausted climbers struggling to breathe and battling nausea leave heavy tents behind rather than attempt to carry them down. Sherpa said the logos on the ice-embedded tents that identify the expedition companies were deliberately ripped out so the culprits could evade detection.
The government is working on a plan to scan and tag climbers’ equipment and gear. All climbers would have to deposit $4,000 before their ascent and might not get the money back if they return without their items.