The fire situation in Alaska is very dynamic at this time. As of June 29, 2015, there are 314 active fires in the State. Many fires in remote areas are unstaffed. The fire summary for Alaska is as follows: 2 new fires with 11 acres burned, 42 staffed fires with 516,089 acres burned, and 271 monitored fires with 1,263,297 acres burned. For a list of all the different Alaska fires visit: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4314/
This year has seen an unusually high number of wildfires burning simultaneously across the tundra and forests of Alaska, and an exceptionally large number of homes and buildings have been damaged or threatened by the flames so far this year. Wildfires are a common occurrence in the state, but this year’s fires started earlier than normal and have escalated quickly. A light winter snowpack and little rain in the spring left dry ground particularly vulnerable to fires that break out when lightning strikes.
This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite on June 25, 2015. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red. NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner