JUNEAU – Governor Bill Walker declared a state disaster in response to a fire that damaged the multi-purpose building in the Village of Alatna. The April 15 blaze caused extensive damage to the water treatment facility, cutting off potable water access for the community. Smoke damage and loss of power closed the clinic and washeteria.
Village residents are currently able to cross the frozen Koyukuk River and haul potable water from Allakaket, five miles away. A temporary water access point will be established at the Alatna wellhead to enable residents to get potable water in their community until permanent repairs can be made.
“We will move quickly to establish a temporary watering point in Alatna prior to breakup of the Koyukuk River,” Governor Walker said. “We do not want to force people to unnecessarily travel in dangerous conditions for clean water. This disaster declaration is critical to restoring the community of Alatna and keeping Alaskans safe.”
The disaster declaration activates the state’s public assistance program, which helps state, tribal, and local governments, as well as certain private non-profits, fund repairs to infrastructure damages identified in the disaster declaration. This declaration will make funds available for temporary and permanent repairs.
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management received a local disaster declaration from the Village of Alatna on April 16. The declaration requests technical and financial assistance for temporary and permanent access to potable water and reopening of the multi-purpose building.