Over 600 wildfires have burned in Alaska this summer, with 300 fires still currently burning. The state is close to reaching the 3-million mark in acres burned. At this point, we’re ahead of the acreage burned up to this date in 2004, which is generally considered to be the worst Alaska fire season on record. To put things in perspective, there were 216 fires that burned 1,153,258 acres in June of 2004. That compares to 399 fires and over 1,600,000 acres this June. The wildfire situation this summer has mainly been triggered by repeated lightning storms striking while the state is abnormally dry. (The lightning has been astonishing; on June 21-23, some 50,000 lightning strikes were recorded in Alaska.) Firefighters are hard at work containing fires that are threatening towns, villages, and infrastructure.
Our federal partners, the Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service, are working together with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs through the Alaska Interagency Center Coordination Center (AICC) located on Ft. Wainwright near Fairbanks. AICC serves as the focal point for initial fire response coordination, logistics support, and predictive services for all state and federal agencies involved in wildland fire management and suppression in Alaska.
The AICC releases a fire report each day: http://fire.ak.blm.gov/content/aicc/sitreport/current.pdf and also manages an up-to-date interactive map that displays the various fires burning across the state: http://afsmaps.blm.gov/imf_fire/imf.jsp?site=fire.
The Bureau of Land Management also keeps the public informed via the BLM Alaska Fire Service Facebook page.