2015 was Alaska’s second-most destructive year, with 5.1 million acres burned. Lots of seedlings grew into “doghair” thickets. It uses data from the ICS-209: The fire season is not over in all areas, but the number of acres burned to date has exceeded the 10-year average number burned in a year. Some of those snags look like they might have already been dead before the fire raged through there. Acres burned annually in the U.S., 1985-2019, except Alaska. About 236 of the 663 fires that started this year are still burning in the state, and it’s not clear when they’ll start to fizzle out. And, please keep in mind our commenting ground rules before you post a comment. Wildfires are a normal part of life in Alaskan forests. High temperatures and dry vegetation have increased the amount of fires occurring every fire season and have also increased the amount of time that fires are ablaze. There is no cost, and in case you change your mind each email has an unsubscribe button. Read the article published by TIME here. That’s staggering. So, when the drought came there simply was not enough moisture to support a density like that. One wonders why in the world this has happened. Here is what I believe might’ve happened: A nearly hundred year practice of total fire exclusion and bad logging practices resulted in a huge increase in tree stand density. Major fire years (in which more than a million acres burn) are nothing new in Alaska, however the current frequency of major fire years is increasing. 2015 was Alaska’s second-most destructive year, with 5.1 million acres burned. The flames have burned 5.8 million acres so far in the three states most affected— California, Oregon, and Washington, a total area larger than the state of New Jersey. Your email address will not be published. A helicopter passes by as smoke rises from a wildfire on July 3, 2019 south of Talkeetna, Alaska near the George Parks Highway. Unfortunately, he says, the fires themselves are creating a “positive feedback loop for the environment. Scientists say that it’s likely that climate change not only plays a major part in causing the fires, but that the carbon being released as smoke might be making the warming effect worse. 2011). 5,887,136 — The total number of acres burned to date in the U.S., not counting Alaska, 5,608,376 — 10-year annual average number of acres burned in the U.S., not counting Alaska. Lightning sparks the majority of fires in Alaska. However, I have seen other reports (which I can’t find immediately) that indicated densities of over 800 trees per acre. A lot of trees died but as bad as that drought was, it was not historically unprecedented. Have a wildland fire news tip? Although there were only eight major fire years from 1950 to 1989, from 1990 to 2018 there were 11 years in which more than a million acres burned. Fire seasons that see the burning of a million acres are not unusual, says Rupp, but “What has been changing is the frequency and the magnitude of these fires.”. The lack of moisture didn’t kill the trees directly but weakened them to the point that they couldn’t fight of a mountain pine beetle attack. It caused about 361 of the total of 663 fires this year (about 291 of the rest are believed to have been caused by humans), according to Ipsen. “We’re increasing greenhouse gases, which leads to more warming, which leads to more fires,” Rupp says. About 8.3 million acres were burned in the 2020 period, compared with 4.4 million acres in 2019. About 1 million acres have burned in Oregon, compared with more than 807,000 acres in Washington. Alaska had its most severe wildfires in 2004, when 6.5 million acres burned. But the figure varies greatly from year to year. Boreal forests are usually a “carbon sink” that absorbs carbon, but when they burn too frequently they can become a “carbon source.”. Here are the numbers of destroyed structures from the September 14, 2020 National Incident Management Situation Report compiled at the National Interagency Coordination Center, broken down by Geographic Areas. The Incident Status Summary, ICS-209, that incident management teams on a fire submit every day asks for the number that were destroyed. Note the picture at the top of this page. <<

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