Nearly 5000 Lightning Strikes Statewide this Weekend

Thunderstorms moved across south-central and southwest Alaska yesterday and today with 1,754 strikes Saturday June 4th, and 3,009 strikes Sunday June 5th. Some of these ignited wildfires that have been detected and staffed by firefighters.

To access lightning maps on the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center website, click on the following link: and select the Wildland Fire Dashboard.

In anticipation of lightning, the Alaska Department of Forestry prepositions additional resources in areas that are forecasted to receive lightning. These resources increase the number of available firefighters that are poised to respond to any new fire start.

As seen in the first photo, a smokejumper airplane (Casa 212) with eight smokejumpers was temporarily positioned at the Palmer Airport today. The DOF helicopters visible in the background are also here for initial attack, water drops and logistical support.

A load of smokejumpers positioned in Palmer today were ordered to fire #186. Above is a quick video showing their process once getting the call.

Lightning detection data comes from the Alaska Lightning Detection Network. This network is a series of magnetic direction finding stations that can pinpoint the location of lightning strikes and relay the information for real time mapping as seen on the lightning map.

Southwest Alaska was hit heavily with lightning strikes the last two days, and several new wildfires and smoke reports have been reported. Some of these fires are being fully staffed and suppressed, while others will be in monitor status. Alaska has a scale of wildfire management options, with firefighter and public safety being priority. More information about these distinctions can be read about in Alaska’s Fire Management Plans.

  • The Rungun Creek Fire (#186) is estimated at 12 acres. Division of Forestry McGrath Helitack Module landed on scene this afternoon, beginning initial attack on the fire. To assist, a load of BLM Smokejumpers was requested out of Palmer, along with support from Firebosses (Single Engine Air Tankers) and helicopter bucket drops. Resources hope to contain the fire by the morning of June 6th. Handcrews have been requested in order to ensure the fire is mopped up and 100% out.
  • Tatlawiksuk Fire (#183), 40 miles south of McGrath, was reported last night and is estimated to be 120 acres.
  • South Lime Lake Fire (#190), located near Lime Village, is a full suppression fire listed at 0.1 acres.
  • Nushagek River Fire (#189) is approximately 60 miles northeast of Koliganek, and estimated size to be 10 acres.
  • South Lime Lake Fire (#190) is 20 miles further to the northeast and is listed at 0.1 acres.

More fires are expected to be found after the nearly 5000 lightning strikes over the weekend. Although this post highlights wildfires of natural cause, please remember, burn permit suspensions are under effect for the majority of Alaska state lands. Do your part to prevent a large and catastrophic wildfire this season.

Categories: AK Fire Info

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