This Is What 259 Wildfires Look Like

Locations of 259 Wildfires at 1:30 PM on June 23

Locations of 259 Wildfires at 1:30 PM on June 23

The Alaska Interagency Coordination Center maintains an on-line map of all known wildfires in Alaska. It’s a useful tool; clicking on any of the little red triangles gives you information about that fire. You can zoom in for better locations. What the map shows is the from Ketchikan to Dillingham and from Homer to the Brooks Range, Alaska is a sea of wildfires. There are dozens of fires within a hundred mile radius of Fairbanks. Each thunderstorm creates more. The weather forecast doesn’t promise much relief.

As a consequence, right now you could smoke fish on a clothes line outside WC’s window.

Back when WC was a pup, once in a while we’d have a really bad wildfire season. But those bad years are happening more frequently. Climate isn’t what is happening this year; it’s what is happening over a period of many years. And severe wildfire seasons are becoming more frequent. 2015 is shaping up to be the fourth really bad one in the last 11 years.

A recent study by Monika Calef concludes average annual acreage burned in Alaska has increased by 500% from 1943 to 2014. Years like 2004, when some 6.6 million acres burned admittedly bust the curve a little, but the trend is unmistakeable and worrying.

Senators Murkowski and Carpetbagger deny anthropogenic global warming, despite this evidence. WCasks them to look at the map again.