Northeast Alaska needs rain. Inches and inches of rain to soak into the extremely dry tundra where surface water lakes have dried up and river levels are low due to the lack of rainfall during the 2019 summer. Over 2,200,000 acres have burned in Alaska during the wildfire season of 2019 with 1,038,539 acres in the Upper Yukon Zone alone. Lightning strikes in the northeast corner of the state near the Canadian border continue to ignite fires in the tundra, spruce and hardwood stands that are extremely dry and that remain receptive to large fire growth.
Recent rains in the large population centers of Anchorage and Fairbanks have left many residents and tourists wondering, “Why is there still smoke in the air and why is Alaska still burning with this rain”? The answer is simple – Alaska is a massive landscape with areas like the northeast in the Yukon Flats that have remained dry. Even the light rain over the Chalykitsik Complex area on Saturday July 27 falls very short of reducing the long term effects of the drought in the Yukon Flats.
Here are some statistics about Alaska: Alaska is the largest state in the United States by total area at 663,268 square miles (1,717,856 km2), over twice the size of Texas, the next largest state. Alaska is larger than all but 18 sovereign countries. You could fit Texas into Alaska 2 times! One-fifth the size of the Lower 48, Alaska is bigger than Texas, California, and Montana combined! Alaska is also far-flung: 3.1 times wider (east to west) and 1.9 times taller (north to south) than Texas. Alaska is twice the size of Texas. It is twice the size of the country Sweden. Alaska is one-fifth the size of all the Lower 48 states in the U.S.
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Video credit: PIO Kale Casey AKIMT/BLM AFS Alaska Fire Service/DNR Alaska Division of Forestry.
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Categories: AK Fire Info