Extreme lightning adds more wildfires to historic season in Alaska

Extreme lightning strikes have caused more than 50 new wildfires in Alaska, declining air quality, forced communities to evacuate, and have already exacerbated historic fires in the state.

More than 2.4 million acres have been burned in the interior this year – at least eight acres in the first half of the year. As of Wednesday, more than 200 wildfires were raging in the state, narrowing firefighting resources.

The smoke from the wildfire is exacerbated Air quality On the central and eastern interior and on the territory of the western Yukon. On Tuesday, communities in Anderson, Open and Clean Space Station were advised to prepare a “go bag”. Estimated thunderstorms can trigger lightning, which can create new fires.

The Alaska Enterprise Coordination Center (AICC) released the highest level of preparation for Wednesday for the seventh day in a row. The designation is based on “large fires requiring emergency management teams in multiple areas” and “combustion conditions, new fire chances, high fire behavior, weather forecasting and resource supply.”

Alaska’s June wildfires broke records due to hot and dry weather

Hot and dry conditions are exacerbating this year’s unprecedented activity. Snowboarding was unusual in the southwestern part of the state this summer, followed by dry and hot springs. Man-made climate change, with its warmer climate, prolongs its growth spurt and increases the number of trees and plants used as fuel.

Then lightning struck, providing the necessary first flash. Thunderstorms lightning and vegetation in late May and early June. Communities were displaced, and dense chimneys appeared. Ferbank.

On June 18, more than a million acres were burned more than a week earlier in the modern record.

What you need to know about how wildfires spread

Last weekend, another round of thunderstorms brought a special lightning strike, exacerbating the fire. Unusual weather patterns in the North Pacific Ocean caused moisture to enter the heart of Alaska early Friday, causing daily thunderstorms in the eastern part of the state and in the mountains of northwestern Yukon. As the hurricane moved northwest through Alaska, thousands of lightning struck the region.

On Saturday, the Alaska Fire Department said more than 7,180 lightning strikes occurred in neighboring Alaska and Canada. The next day, another 10,500 lightning strikes. The result is the highest total of two days in Alaska in two decades.

Thunderstorms are not uncommon in Alaska during the summer, but this magnitude is very unusual.

Rick Tomman, a climate expert with the University of Alaska International Arctic Research Center, acknowledged that lightning strikes are difficult to quantify, but experience: “It only happens once in a few summer months.

A total of 10,195 strikes were observed on Monday and Tuesday at 10 pm in Alaska on Tuesday.

Predictions Unusually lightning aggravates the state fire, which is thought to lead to several fires, each of which escalates into a wildfire.

More than 50 wildfires have started since Sunday, and more will occur next weekend as lightning continues and the flames are too small to be identified.

The National Weather Service in Ferbanx has issued a warning about the red flag in the state. The warning warns that “enough lightning” – up to 5,000 lightning strikes a day – could lead to many new fires by Friday.

Wildfires are common in the 49th Province. Lightning and human activity, they ripped through the fiery black spruce forests in the Alaskan Permafrost between May and August. According to the AICC, an average of 975,000 acres of wildfires were burned between 1950 and 2019 in the state.

Some years are not marked by wildfires, while others include atmospheric conditions such as dry conditions, thunderstorms and heat waves for wildfire development and expansion.

2022 is about to become one of the most active years of the year. Only one more year – 2015 – has seen more burned-out hectares this season in a reliable record. A.D. In 2015, fires burned more than 5 million hectares of Alaska wildlife.

Kasha Patel contributed to this report.

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