The devastating 2015 wildfire season in Alaska is the worst the state has ever seen, with nearly 5 million hectares burning so far this year. As of August 30, Alaska accounted for more than half of all arable land burned in the US. The total number of hectares burned in the Upper Yukon during this period dwarfed all the burned hectares burned by any state in the lower 48. With nearly 5 million acres already burned, this dwarfs all acres in any state outside the Lower 48, according to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.
The USGS is conducting a study of the natural gas-producing region based on data from the Alaska Natural Gas Survey (ALGS) of the US Geological Survey.
The concern is how long the fire season has dragged on, said Chris Iipsen, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service. Alaska's wildland fire authorities have allocated many resources to support national extinguishing efforts to keep their adequate firefighters and aircraft ready to deal with the blaze here, according to Ipsen.
The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and Alaska as a whole is feeling the effects of the climate crisis. If wildfires in Alaska, Canada, and Siberia accelerate the anticipated thaw in Arctic sea ice, it could worsen global warming.
Alaska brings a small army of firefighters and staff from Canada and the Lower 48 states to supplement the 2,000 firefighters stationed here. The three crews leaving Alaska on Friday will include 62 firefighters in total and will join 60 other Alaska firefighters already working in the low 48.
A BLM and Alaska Fire Department employees, also wearing face masks, helped firefighters board a flight to Boise. Firefighters from Fort Wainwright and Fairbanks, as well as firefighters from Alaska and Canada, board a plane in Fairbank on Friday morning. Firefighters receive lunch packages from a BLM / Alaska Fire Department employee, who also wears a mask, before boarding a flight in Boise on Friday, August 26, 2017.
Alaska Interagency Predictive Services in Mesowest began operations in 2015, and Laurel Andrews is a member of the team and a graduate of Alaska State University's School of Public Health. These skills led Zeke to Fairbanks, Alaska, where he spent four years in the Alaska Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (NNR).
The average representation of fire seasons in Alaska does not very well represent the effects of fire, but there are a few examples where the average tells the story. Northeast of Fairbanks and Fort Yukon, the highest temperatures measured above 100 degrees Celsius are recorded using an interactive tool that provides access to the altitude measurements collected on the beach in Alaska in the 1960s. Figure 3 shows the cumulative hectares burned in Fig. 2 and illustrates the different trajectories of the season.
The 2016 wildfire season in Alaska lasted more than six months, burning an average of 1.5 million hectares, and incidents requiring a response from mid-April to the end of October. Crews and other firefighters in Alaska were dealing with a season that began in April, but the concern was much longer than the average six-month wildfire season in Alaska.
The Alaska Division of Forestry plans to suspend all fire permits for firefighters in the Fairbanks area until the end of the fire season in mid-October. The state's firefighters work with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Fairbank Fire Department, Alaska State Firefighters and other state agencies.
Additional materials at the center could be useful for obtaining images of resources and environmental conditions in southeastern Alaska. A map of northern Alaska shows the extent of fire damage in the Fairbanks area and other areas of the state. A detailed description of what has happened since the Juneau fire on July 31, 2016 and the recent fires in Fairbank and other parts of Southeast Alaska in August can be found on the map below.
In Alaska, federal and state agencies are working together through the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center to monitor and manage fires and dispatch firefighters to the front lines, including a record number of smoke catchers this year. Fitness tests are common for Alaska firefighters, and many cities, including Kodiak and Fairbanks, require them. Alaska is no stranger to large wildfires, but in the case of Alaska, its forestry department, which uses firefighters to protect against wildfires, is one of its responsibilities. This year's fire season has been only slightly moderate, and this has changed some areas where natural fires have been beneficial and where the cost of fighting fires has outstripped the damage.
Traditionally, the most significant fires are monitored and mapped by regular flights, but Alaska has taken a new approach to assessing fire behavior from home and on the ground. During the seemingly endless 2004 fire season, when smoke rendered aerial observations of smoke virtually useless, Alaska used satellite data to detect fires. There has also been a mobilization of firefighting resources from the Lower 48, with Alaska importing firefighters and aircraft from outside the Lower 48 to help with wildfires.