While all the talk earlier this month was of the 2015 fire season challenging the 2004 season for the largest fire season on record in Alaska, that’s beginning to look doubtful. Now it’s beginning to look like we may not even break the 5-million-acre mark, much less challenge the record of 6,590,140 acres that burned in 2004.
Due to better mapping, the number of acres estimated to have burned so far this season in Alaska actually dropped by 45,083 acres on Saturday, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center’s daily situation report issued Sunday morning. The total acreage burned this season now stands at 4,746,078 acres.
With a cooler, wetter weather pattern moving into Alaska, fire activity on many fires is moderating, especially in Southwest Alaska and the eastern Interior. The one exception is the western Interior around Tanana, where conditions remain dry and fire activity remains high. It will be interesting to see what happens weather-wise in that region, which has recorded the highest burned acreage totals of anywhere in the state this season.
Here’s a rundown of Alaska Division of Forestry, BLM Alaska Fire Service and U.S. Forest Service protection areas and how much acreage has burned in each area so far this season, along with a photo by Alan Vandiver of crews using spruce boughs to beat down the Aggie Creek Fire north of Fairbanks.
Alaska Division of Forestry
Southwest (McGrath) – 899,585 acres
Tok – 93 fires – 84,628 acres
Fairbanks – 82 fires – 50,926 acres
Delta Area – 21 fires – 23,890 acres
Kenai – 58 fires – 8,888 acres
Anchorage/Mat-Su – 91 fires -7,265 acres
Copper River Area – 35 fires – 970 acres
Haines – 1 fire – 1 acre
Totals – 444 fires – 1,076,153 acres
BLM Alaska Fire Service
Tanana Zone – 93 fires – 2,301,125 acres
Galena Zone – 91 fires – 1,061,706 acres
Upper Yukon Zone – 36 fires – 261,276 acres
Military Zone – 37 fires – 45,042 acres
Totals – 257 fires – 3,669,149 acres
U.S. Forest Service
Chugach National Forest – 8 fires 771 acres
Tongass National Forest – 14 fires – 4.2 acres
Totals – 22 fires – 776 acres