Wildfires have burned more than 500,000 acres in Alaska so far this season

Alaska surpassed the 500,000-acre mark in estimated acres burned by wildfires on Sunday. As of Monday morning, 303 fires have burned an estimated 503,257 acres for the season, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center in Fairbanks. Most of that burned acreage has been courtesy of several fires burning in remote locations in the northeastern Interior of Alaska.

A smoke plume from the 8,345-acre South Fork Salcha Fire about 25 miles north of Delta Junction and 70 miles southeast of Fairbanks as seen from Delta on June 10. The lightning-caused fire has not grown in size due to abundant rainfall in the past month but is still being monitored. Photo by Jesse Cummings

While rain has moderated fire activity in most other parts of Alaska, lightning-caused wildfires east of Fort Yukon continue to burn and smolder. There are still 24 active fires in the northeast corner of the state. In the last week, those fires have chewed up approximately 200,000 acres, thanks in large part to the fact they are burning in remote areas and are being allowed to burn because they are in limited suppression management areas and don’t threaten anything.Only two of those 24 fires are being staffed with firefighting personnel.

For the season, 146 fires have burned approximately 423,904 acres in the BLM Alaska Fire Service protection area while 147 fires have burned an estimated 81,351 acres in the Alaska Division of Forestry’s protection area, most of which (69,848 acres) has been in the Southwest Area around McGrath.
This year’s total acres burned to date surpasses last year’s total acreage burned of 500,949 acres but the total number of fires this year – 303 – is much lower than last year’s total of 572 fires. In an average year, there are about 500 fires that
Here are this year’s season statistics as of Monday morning, July 17, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center:
Year to date fires: 303
Year to date estimated acreage burned: 505,257
Current active fires: 63
Human-caused fires: 171
Lightning-caused fires: 132

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/ Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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