KJACK Radio News 4-2-19

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Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 8:00 am

I'm Sebastian Smith with KJACK Radio News and these are your top headlines for Tuesday, April 2nd.

Wildland fire forecasters are predicting some higher activity for parts of Arizona. The state Department of Forestry and Fire Management will brief Gov. Doug Ducey and his executive staff Monday on this year's fire season outlook. Forest officials say the recent winter moisture across Arizona provided some much-needed relief to the state after struggling with a lack of moisture and severe drought conditions over the last couple of years. Last year's fire numbers dropped significantly from the previous year despite the state's dry conditions. In 2018, there were 2,000 wildfires for a total of 165,000 acres burned on private, state, federal and tribal lands. Arizona had 2,205 fires in 2017 that charred 420,000 acres.

The names of two Marine pilots who died in a helicopter crash during a training mission in southwestern Arizona were released Monday as the crash remained under investigation. U.S. Marine Corps officials identified the dead pilots as Maj. Matthew M. Wiegand and Capt. Travis W. Brannon. They said the AH-1Z Viper crashed about 8:45 p.m. Saturday on the vast Marine Corps Air Station Yuma training grounds while the pilots were conducting a training mission as part of a weapons and tactical instructor course. Officials said Wiegand held qualifications in the AH-1Z Viper and AH-1W Super Cobra and Brannon was attending the semi-annual weapons and tactics instructor course hosted by the Yuma base. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff Tuesday.

Arizona Native American tribes on the hunt for animal hides, antlers, teeth and other parts for cultural and religious use have a unique new resource: the state's wildlife agency. A recently launched program allows Arizona's nearly two dozen tribes to make requests to the state Game and Fish Department for animals that have died from poaching or natural causes, or after being hit by a vehicle. Agency game managers, researchers and other employees then keep an eye out for the carcasses as part of their regular work. So far, the program's biggest customers are the Navajo Nation, which has collected bear and mule deer carcasses, and the Hopi Tribe, which has requested turtle shells, as well as turkey and water fowl feathers. The agency also gathered turtle shells for New Mexico pueblos, often used as ankle or hand rattles in ceremonial dances.

Today’s weather is looking to be a high near 58 degrees. There seems to be a wind speed around 37 miles an hour, so be wary. Tonight’s seeing a low of 33 degrees with a 20% chance of rain.

Those were your top headlines. I'm Sebastian Smith with KJACK Radio News.