Emily Mount


Magma Rising Beneath Edgecumbe One crisp April day, Sitka residents were shocked to see Mount Edgecumbe, the volcano just 15 miles from town, erupting. “Smoke was pouring over the edge of the volcano,” recalls Alice Johnstone. “I never ever called my husband at work, but I was so excited I called to tell him about it. I even phoned FAA to get more information.” Phones rang off the hook at the police station while the Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter to investigate. Spray painted in 50-foot letters at the summit they found the words “April Fools.” It was April 1, 1974. Local prankster Oliver “Porky” Bickar had flown 70 old tires to the summit crater and lit them on fire. The Edgecumbe hoax hit international news and went down as one of the best April Fools jokes of all time.  But it was no joke on April 11, 2022, when…