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Historic, record-breaking heat isn’t the only environmental malaise that’s gripped Alaska this summer. So has wildfire smoke.
An incredible satellite image taken on July 8 shows smoke spreading far and wide across Alaska as a spate of hot, dry weather causes the state’s wildfire season to kick into high gear. Dense smoke advisories and red flag fire warnings are currently in effect across interior Alaska and on the Kenai Peninsula, while concentrations of particulate matter, which can lodge in the lungs and cause breathing problems, have surged to dangerous levels around Fairbanks and surrounding communities. Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy climatologist Rick Thoman, who’s based in Fairbanks, said that visibility is currently about a mile and described the air quality as “terrible,” noting that one air quality station notched a particulate matter reading of over 700 this morning. Levels over 250 are considered hazardous to human health.
The 41 large fires the National Interagency Fire Center is currently tracking in Alaska include the Swan Lake fire south of Anchorage, which has topped 100,000 acres in size but is getting closer to containment, and the Hess Creek fire northwest of Fairbanks, now the largest fire in the U.S. at over 149,000 acres. Sparked by lightning on June 21, the fire has expanded dramatically on the heels of the last week’s hot weather and remains entirely out of control.
These fires and many others are being fueled by a week of record-shattering heat, which, after the second-warmest June in Alaska’s history, has turned much of interior and southern part of the state into a tinderbox.
Some of the global patterns that appear in the fire maps over time are the result of natural cycles of rainfall, dryness, and lightning. For example, naturally occurring fires are common in the boreal forests of Canada in the summer. In other parts of the world, the patterns are the result of human activity. For example, the intense burning in the heart of South America from August-October is a result of human-triggered fires, both intentional and accidental, in the Amazon Rainforest and the Cerrado (a grassland/savanna ecosystem) to the south. Across Africa, a band of widespread agricultural burning sweeps north to south over the continent as the dry season progresses each year. Agricultural burning occurs in late winter and early spring each year across Southeast Asia.
originally posted by: Darkblade71
a reply to: TEOTWAWKIAIFF
Most of the fires are up north of me, but I went fishing this morning and the haze from all of the fires is even reaching into southeast Alaska and has been for days. Here is a photo from this morning:
That is all smoke in the distance.
We had some wind that cleared a lot of it out but it has been like this for over a week.
Also it has been in the 80's and unusually warm here.