Alaska is heating up to have one of its worst fire seasons ever

Alaska - Conditions in Alaska are perfect in the worst way, kicking off the start of a fire season that is already on track to break records.

Wildfire season is heating up, burning through massive swathes of the US such as Alaska and Yosemite National Park.
Wildfire season is heating up, burning through massive swathes of the US such as Alaska and Yosemite National Park.  © REUTERS

Wildfires in Alaska are currently blazing across over two million acres and trampling over previously set records for wildfire spread. Per Yale, this puts Alaska on course to experience one of the worst recorded wildfire seasons in the state's history this year.

The fires this year have already blazed over 10 times the acres burned in all the fires in 2021 combined. If the 58 different blazes continue to send Alaska's forests up in smoke, the total burned acreage could pass the blistering record set in 2004 when fires destroyed over six million acres.

The biggest fires, the Lime Complex Fire and the East Fork Fire, are responsible for a large portion of the burned area and have already cut through 850,000 acres.

Ideal fire conditions create a recipe for destruction

Wildfires need a few key ingredients to go crazy, and as climate change ramps up, it's creating the exact recipe big blazes need.

Hotter temperatures year-round meant there was less snowpack from winter storms, which made Alaska much drier than usual. Record heat through May helped dry things out even more, so all that was needed was a spark, which storms sure delivered in the form of thousands of lightning strikes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explained in a statement: "This year has been an unusually active fire season in the region, with abnormally warm and dry conditions that led to more than 300 wildfires igniting in recent weeks. Many of these were sparked by nearly 5,000 lightning strikes from thunderstorms that moved across south-central and southwestern Alaska in early June."

Wildfire season is just heating up, with blazes ripping across Alaska and other parts of the US like in Yosemite National Park.

Cover photo: REUTERS

More on Environment and Climate: