“Worst Fire Conditions On Record” — As Heatwaves, Drought Bake North American West, Wildfires Erupt From California to Alaska

There are 146 wildfires burning in Alaska today. A total that is likely to see at least another dozen blazes added to it by midnight. A total that has already absorbed the entire firefighting capacity of the State and has drawn hundreds of firefighters from across the country in places as far away as Pennsylvania.

For Alaska, it’s a case of record heat and dryness generating fuels for wildfires.

Alaska wildfires Sunday

(MODIS satellite shot of wildfires erupting over a sweltering Southwestern Alaska on Sunday, June 21. Wildfires in permafrost regions of the Arctic like Alaska are particularly concerning as they are one mechanism that returns ancient sequestered carbon to the Earth atmosphere. A sign of a feedback set off by human warming that will worsen with continued fossil fuel emissions. Image source: LANCE-MODIS.)

Deadhorse, at the center of North Slope oil fields above the Arctic Circle set an all time record high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 Celsius) on Sunday. That’s 3 degrees hotter than the previous all time record high of 79 degrees (26 C) set on August 16, 2004. The hottest reading for June at that location was a 68 degree (20 C) measure set in 2007. So, basically, Deadhorse just shattered the all-time record for June by 14 degrees (F) and the globally record hot summer of 2015 has only now gotten started.

Other locations experiencing new records for just Sunday included Kotzebue, which set a new all time record highest low temperature of 62 degrees (17 C). This reading broke the previous all time high minimum mark of 56 degrees (14 C), set in 1987. Bethel and Yakutat both tied their daily high minimum temperature records at 54 and 52 degrees (12 and 11 C), respectively.

And yesterday was just one day in long period of record heat for the State. Last month’s NOAA analysis showed temperatures fully 7 degrees Fahrenheit (4 C) above average. It’s a record heating that is now setting off severe wildfires all over Alaska. According to the state’s Wildland Fire Information Center, the relentless heat and dryness has turned spruce, hardwoods, brush, and tundra into dry fuels vulnerable to any ignition source. Over the past week, ignition has come in the form of lightning — with most of Alaska’s 2015 wildfires set off by nature’s spark.

As a result we are seeing nearly double the number of fires during June compared to a typical year. Fires that have already destroyed 30 structures, forced evacuations, and tapped Alaska’s firefighting resources to its limits.

Wildfires Burning in the Rainforests of Washington as Major Heatwave Approaches

Record hot temperatures and wildfires, unfortunately, are not just an issue for Alaska. They’re a prevalent concern all up and down Western North America. A zone that has seen several years of record hot temperatures and dryness. Extreme weather events fueled by such global warming-linked phenomena as a Ridiculously Resilient high pressure Ridge over the Northeast Pacific that has kept heatwave and drought conditions firmly entrenched throughout much of the region for months and years. An atmospheric condition that is also linked to a hot ocean surface water ‘Blob’ in the Northeast Pacific (which is itself implicated in a growing number of marine species deaths).

Paradise-Fire-June-17

(Paradise Fire burning near a drought-shrunken creek in the rainforests of Olympia National Park, Washington. Image source: NPS and Wildfire Today.)

This week, the added heat also generated wildfires in unusual areas like the rainforests of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. Driest conditions since 1951 have resulted in a great deal of fire resiliency loss for forests in the region (1951 was the year of the historic Five Forks Fire, one of the worst ever to impact Washington State). Already, a rare early summer wildfire (called the Paradise Fire) has burned through 417 acres of forest.

Firefighters are doing their best to contain the blaze. But the record heat and dryness are multiplying fuel sources. Fires are enabled by dried lichens growing high up in the trees. When flames touch the lichens they rapidly ignite sending sparks to other lichen-covered tree tops. In this way, flames can leap rapidly from tree to tree under current conditions.

It’s very unusual to see fires in this rainforest zone. And when ignitions have occurred in those very rare cases, they have typically flared during late Summer and early Fall. So this June burning has fire officials very concerned — especially given the nearly unprecedented fire hazard conditions throughout the State. Conditions that are predicted to rapidly worsen as an extreme heatwave is expected to build through the coming weekend.

West Coast Heatwave Saturday

(A major heatwave is predicted to invade the US West and Northwest States this weekend. Washington and Oregon are predicted to experience temperatures more typical of desert sections of California and Arizona. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)

Temperatures over large stretches of Washington and Oregon are expected to climb into the 90s and 100s, possibly reaching the 110s (Fahrenheit — Celsius range from 33 to 45) by Sunday. For these typically cool, wet States, this brutal heat blow, should it emerge as predicted, will set off a spate of all time record high temperature readings, deepen drought conditions extending northward from California, and heighten fire conditions that are already in the range of worst ever experienced for sections of these States.

California Experiencing “Worst Fire Conditions On Record”

Moving further south along the U.S. West Coast we come at last to the drought hot zone that is California. A State that is now enduring its fourth year of drought. A drought that tree ring studies show is likely the worst such event in 1,000 years.

These harsh climate conditions were starkly highlighted this weekend as reports from State emergency planning officials now indicate that California is currently experiencing its worst fire conditions on record.

Ken Pimlott, Director of CAL FIRE noted:

We measure the fuel moisture content of all of the vegetation -the brush and the trees and we track that over the course of time and compare it month to month each year. And we put it through formulas and determine how much energy and how much heat it will put out when it’s burning. And we have seen -we saw it last year and we will see it again this year- we’ll be reaching records for potential heat output for times of the year that would normally not be burning in those conditions.

Wildfire nonexistent snowpack

(Large wildfire burns in forests along the slopes of Sierra Nevada Mountains whose peaks are now entirely devoid of snow cover. Note that remaining glaciers are shown turning a dull brown in the June 21 MODIS satellite shot.)

So far this year over 1,100 wildfires have already ignited throughout the State. That’s nearly twice the typical number of 650 blazes popping up by this time of year. Exacerbating this stark context is a state water resource crisis compounded by non-existent Sierra Nevada snowpacks and dead trees that now number in the millions.

This is not Normal, Nor Should We View Widespread, Related Events in Isolation

Record and unusual Alaska, Washington, and California wildfires this season are, thus, not occurring in isolation, but as an inseparable feature of ongoing climate trends related to human-caused global warming. In this case, heatwaves are related to visible and extreme record ocean and atmospheric temperatures that have been ramping both globally and in the regions affected over past years and decades. And the fact that 2015 is continuing as the hottest year on record globally should also not be viewed as separate from the events witnessed all up and down the North American West Coast. Events that were largely predicted in many global climate models assessing the impacts of human based greenhouse gas warming on this vital national and global region.

We’ll end here by considering this thought — it’s only June, yet up and down the North American West Coast we are experiencing some of the worst heat, drought, and fire conditions ever recorded. It’s only June…

*   *   *   *

UPDATE NOON EST, JUNE 23, 2015: Satellite Imagery confirms that, over the past 24-48 hours, the wildfire situation in Alaska has continued to worsen. Widespread and large fires running throughout southwestern, central, northeastern and eastern Alaska today expanded and multiplied:

Wildfires Alaska June 22

(Fires flared to dangerous size across Alaska on June 22nd and 23nd. Image source: LANCE-MODIS)

These rapidly proliferating fires cover a diagonal swath stretching about 800 miles from southwest to northeast across the state. The fires are burning through Alaska’s permafrost zone and current intensity in the satellite image is similar to some of the worst Arctic fires we’ve seen during recent years. A substantial number of these fires feature smoke footprints indicating 5-10 mile active burn fronts. Smoke plume size is now large enough to become caught up in the Jet Stream and impact visual features of skies across the Northern Hemisphere.

Based on these satellite shots, it appears that Alaska is experiencing a heightening and very severe fire emergency — one that shows little sign of abatement over the next few days.

Links:

Deadhorse Sets New All-Time Record High Temperature

NOAA Global Analysis May 2015

Alaska’s Wildland Fire Information Center

More Than 100 New Fires Spring Up Across Alaska

PA Firefighters Heading to Alaska to Battle Wildfires

Wildfires Burn in Olympic Rain Forest

Climate Reanalyzer

LANCE-MODIS

California Fire Says 2015 Fire Conditions are Worst on Record

Die-off of Millions of California Trees Centered in Sierra Nevada

Hat Tip to DT Lange

Hat Tip to Andy in San Diego

Leave a comment

81 Comments

  1. climatehawk1

     /  June 22, 2015

    Tweet scheduled, thanks.

    Reply
  2. Jacob

     /  June 22, 2015

    Yet another salient article, Robert. With everything taken together could connecting the dots be any easier here?

    I pray we do not send another Republican to the White House.

    Reply
  3. eric smith

     /  June 22, 2015

    Robert,
    Your story of a Chesapeake Bay marine biologist who affected you so much.
    One can only imagine such pain as his.
    We shall fight as only men can.
    And we shall fight NOW.
    Regards, Eric

    Reply
  4. dnem

     /  June 23, 2015

    It’s only June. And we’re still less than 1 deg C over baseline. 2 deg C is “safe”?

    Reply
  5. Fractal

     /  June 23, 2015

    Here it comes for us in NW Montana:

    Scientific Forecaster Discussion
    Area forecast discussion
    National Weather Service Missoula Montana
    256 PM MDT Monday Jun 22 2015

    ..significant heat wave for northern Rockies this weekend…

    Discussion…
    ….

    Thursday through the weekend, incredibly warm high pressure will
    develop over much of the western US. Daytime and overnight
    temperatures will steadily warm each day, reaching near
    historically hot readings Saturday through Monday. Yes, even
    overnight temperatures may be nearing historically hot readings
    during this time. Considering daytime temperatures near 100
    degrees and overnight temperatures only cooling to the 60s, the
    danger of heat exhaustion, hyperthermia, and heat stroke will be
    extreme for the northern rockies. Persons living in spaces without
    air conditioning should consider seeking occasional relief from
    such heat exposure. Extended heat exposure can be deadly.

    Reply
    • rayduray

       /  June 23, 2015

      Fractal,

      We got pretty much word-for-word the same advisory for Central Oregon.

      http://tinyurl.com/o4ku376

      I guess I won’t be heading your way for relief.🙂

      Cheerio!

      Reply
    • Yes, from NWS: “Yes, even overnight temperatures may be nearing historically hot readings during this time.”
      This is most assured in an urban landscape covered in heat absorbing carbon black asphalt.
      Survival wise, our FF bitumen asphalt culture is doing everything wrong — every thing.

      Reply
  6. rayduray

     /  June 23, 2015

    Here’s a video presentation on climate from the Harvard University Center for the Environment. https://vimeo.com/126306925

    This video was recommended by Alex Smith at Radio EcoShock last week. He discusses the content to a greater extent at his website.

    Reply
  7. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    B.C. burns through budget for fighting forest fires
    Hot, dry conditions presage bad fire season; some rivers at near-record low levels
    – See more at: Link

    Reply
  8. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    Yukon asks for help as forest fire starts far surpass all of last year

    Yukon’s Wildland Fire Management agency is asking for outside help after almost a dozen new fire starts on Sunday.

    That brings the total burning to about 80 fires.

    George Maratos, spokeperson for Yukon Wildland Fire Management, says there have already been 123 forest fires in Yukon this season.

    That’s compared to 32 forest fires during all of last year.

    Link

    Reply
    • Syd Bridges

       /  June 23, 2015

      And there’s a lot of permafrost in the Yukon.They used to hose it away with a monitor to get at the gold round Dawson City

      Alaska, northern Canada, and Siberia: it’s the same story, and I would guess that when the El Nino heat really hits the Arctic in a year or two, it will be much worse.

      Reply
    • Bob. Check out the recent MODIS shot. All of AK looks like it’s burning now. These fires just went from bad to insane.

      Reply
  9. Rick

     /  June 23, 2015

    As always, another thought-provoking, well-written post. I’ve been following your blog for quite some time, but this one was a bit more challenging for me as a European due to the many Fahrenheits. It would be great if you could add Celsius in future articles (which I think you used to do?).

    Reply
  10. Its like watching the titantic sink. I am in Australia. Its our turn next.

    Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    Heat wave kills 400 in Pakistan’s Karachi, but rain expected
    A devastating heat wave has killed more than 400 people in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi over the past three days, health officials said on Tuesday, as paramilitaries set up emergency medical camps in the streets.

    The heat wave, which coincides with major power cuts, has led to harsh criticism of the provincial government’s crumbling public health system and K-electric, the private company that supplies electricity to Karachi, the richest city in Pakistan and home to 20 million people.

    Temperatures have touched 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) in the steamy port city in recent days, up from a normal summer temperature of 37 C (99 F). But meteorological authorities say rain is due.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/23/pakistan-heatwave-idUSL3N0Z91JR20150623

    Reply
  12. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    Saharan dust over the Caribbean Sea

    Reply
  13. nick

     /  June 23, 2015

    With the reduced amount of water in lakes and reservoirs, will the firefighters have less water available to fight the fires?

    Reply
    • Water for firefighting is generally prioritized. But the overall strain on sources may impact some efforts at the margins. For example, some lakes used for air drops may be too low or some municipalities may need to do even more switching than they already do to cover water used for wildfires.

      Reply
  14. dnem

     /  June 23, 2015

    FWIW, Greenland melt graph headed straight up and just poked its head above the 2 SDs above the 1981-2010 average line. http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/

    Reply
    • Yvan Dutil

       /  June 23, 2015

      Surface mass balance is still very mild however:

      http://beta.dmi.dk/en/groenland/maalinger/greenland-ice-sheet-surface-mass-budget/

      Unfortunately, the total mass budget is no longer available,

      Reply
      • The big surface melt right now is hitting snow cover, mostly. The loss of that resilience has big impacts, potentially, for late season. SMB is thus a trailing indicator. We see that in the rear view. And, yeah, SMB doesn’t tell the whole story. Plenty of sea fronting glaciers all around Greenland and deep channels cutting into the archipelago providing warming deep water access. This basal melt issue can really sneak up.

        Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    RS –
    Siberia starting to burn North and West of the Amur River –

    Reply
  16. Reblogged this on jpratt27.

    Reply
  17. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    Study finds sudden shift in “forcing” led to demise of Laurentide ice sheet

    “What is most interesting is that there are big shifts in the surface mass balance that occur from only very small changes in radiative forcing,” said Ullman, who is in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. “It shows just how sensitive the system is to forcing, whether it might be solar radiation or greenhouse gases.”

    Read more at: Link

    Reply
    • That’s what I keep trying to tell Yvan. When these guys move, they don’t pussy-foot around. What we’ve seen so far with Greenland, WAIS and East Antarctica is prelude.

      Reply
      • Yvan Dutil

         /  June 24, 2015

        Don’t forget that ice was covering much more surface then than now. Hence, albedo positive feedback was much stronger.

        Nevertheless, you position is reasonable. I am hopefully (or foolishly) thinking than slowdown of the AMOC will put the brakes and save (somehow) the day. Notwithstanding, base melting which may be totally unstoppable.

        Reply
        • 30% AMOC slowdown is not stoppage. That’s a concern for me. And though that has some impact on AMO, I suppose my opinion is that human heat forcing just over-rides until the melt pulses from Greenland are just strong enough to stop AMOC entirely.

          My opinion is that we probably need about 1 meter of SLR worth of melt from Greenland to do that. And at that point, yeah, we’re firmly into what I’ve called Phase 2 climate change.

          It’s a rough way of defining the progression. So I don’t have confidence in perfect accuracy, just confidence that my sense of the overall trend is likely close to what may happen in reality (sans a very rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning and some luck when it comes to Earth System sensitivity).

  18. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    New Zealand farmers facing floods, heavy snowfall, but drought areas stay dry
    Farmers in New Zealand are repairing fences and mopping up after a front dumped up to 300 millimetres of rain over the weekend, causing widespread flooding and landslips and cutting off access to some farming properties.

    Link

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    Heatwave kills at least 500 in Pakistan’s Karachi but rain expected soon

    Electricity shortages have crippled the water supply system in Karachi, hampering the pumping of millions of gallons of water to consumers, the state-run water utility said.

    Pakistan’s meteorological office said temperatures remained around 44.5 Celsius in Karachi on Tuesday but forecast thunderstorms for the evening.

    Link

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    Across China: Thawing permafrost may accelerate global warming

    Zhang’s latest research shows that the Tibetan Plateau accounts for 6 percent of permafrost in the northern hemisphere, and holds 160 billion tonnes of carbon, about 9 percent of the total for the hemisphere.

    According to a report published by the institute of Tibetan Plateau research in August, the plateau was warmer in the past five decades than any period in the past 2,000 years, and it will get hotter and more humid in decades to come.

    Compared with the permafrost found at high latitudes such as Alaska and Siberia, permafrost in China is more sensitive to climate change. “A temperature rise of one or two degrees Celsius has a limited impact on high-latitude permafrost as it is mostly at eight below zero. Permafrost on the Tibetan Plateau is warmer, less than two below zero most of the time, which means a temperature rise of one degree or two will entail severe degeneration,” Zhang said.

    Link

    Reply
    • Good report, but it’s worth noting that polar amplification speeds near Arctic permafrost thaw preferentially during phase 1 climate change. 160 billion tons on the Plateau is nothing to sneeze at, however.

      Reply
  21. Leland Palmer

     /  June 23, 2015

    Wow, thanks for keeping us up to date.

    NASA Worldview: Terrible growth of fires in Alaska, in just the past few days. The red dots are thermal anomalies.

    http://1.usa.gov/1JgnCt4

    Zoom in or out, and use the time controls at the bottom of the page to modify the view or see past data.

    Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  June 23, 2015

      Oh, that link is from the 16th of June. Use the time controls to go forward to today:

      http://1.usa.gov/1GmguVV

      Reply
      • Yeah, use the slider on the bottom left to right (early June to today). watch the red fire dots display.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 24, 2015

        Hi dtlange
        Yes, huge clusters of red dots miles wide trailing huge clouds of smoke.

        http://1.usa.gov/1fB0RU3

        Today seems no better than yesterday and might be worse, in Alaska. Our worthless corporate media are reporting evacuations, and some of the stories actually mention climate change.

        Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    North Korea’s Dark Secret: ‘100-Year Drought’ Is Knocking Out Its Power Supply

    An unusually dry 2014 followed by an arid spring this spring has crippled the North Korea power supply, some 60 percent of which is estimated to come from hydropower generation, according to The Washington Post. Low water levels have pushed the cash-strapped and secretive country to paralyzing electricity shortages.

    Link

    Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    A New Take on the Human Factor in Recent Extreme Events

    By: Jeff Masters and Bob Henson

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3025#commenttop

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    Weak sun could offset some global warming in Europe and US – study

    Regional impact of a weaker solar cycle likely to be larger than global effect, with only minimal impact on worldwide temperature rises caused by climate change

    Global warming in northern Europe and the eastern US could be partially offset in future winters because of the sun entering a weaker cycle similar to the one which enabled frost fairs to take place on the river Thames in the 17th and 18th century, according to new research.

    Link

    Reply
    • 0.3 Watts per meter squared isn’t really enough to take down the current 3.0 from human forcing much less 4.5 or 8.0 (under medium and BAU cases for this Century). The sun has a very minor role to play, if a role to play at all in the coming events.

      Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    The Atlantic ‘conveyor belt’ and climate: 10 years of the RAPID project

    A global project that’s been instrumental in shaping scientists’ understanding of how the oceans affect our climate celebrated its tenth birthday recently.

    A new paper published in Science looks back at 10 years of the RAPID project, which has been keeping tabs on how heat moves around in the Atlantic Ocean since 2004.

    Link

    Reply
  26. I think someone else might have posted a link to an article on the same research, but ClimateProgress recently wrote about this study. Civilization may face a collapse by 2040 if we don’t adjust course.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/06/23/3672339/society-collapse-climate-food-shortages/

    Reply
    • 2040 seems about right. That’s when the impacts start to get out beyond likely available resources. You need both a rapid switch away from fossil fuels and a far more resilient society to face what’s coming.

      Reply
    • LJR

       /  June 23, 2015

      “Wheat, maize and soybean prices increase to quadruple the levels seen around 2000. Rice prices increase 500% as India starts to try to buy from smaller exporters following restrictions imposed by Thailand. Public agricultural commodity stocks increase 100% in share value, agricultural chemical stocks rise 500% and agriculture engineering supply chain stocks rise 150%. Food riots break out in urban areas across the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America. The euro weakens and the main European stock markets lose 10% of their value; US stock markets follow and lose 5% of their value.”

      What a bunch of idiots! The world starves and the US stock market loses only 5% of its value? Gimme a break. Where do they come up with this twaddle? I think I know but I’m too polite to say it out loud.

      Reply
      • To give ThinkProgress some credit, they quoted verbatim Lloyds of London, who ought to know better.

        Reply
      • I think that’s where some of this nonsense thinking that the wealthy somehow dodge the climate bullet came from. Markets really don’t respond well to any kind of turmoil, especially turmoil that interferes with commercial traffic between nations and increases the flow of refugees. Exactly the results of widespread hunger.

        Reply
  27. james cole

     /  June 23, 2015

    You would not know any of this is happening if you get your news from the Main Stream media. I assume this is deliberate. Though a few local papers do have to cover the stories because they are local.

    Reply
    • It’s by design, James. If the public knew how bad things really are they might change their behavior, or at least snap out of the ultra-consumer trance they’re in. This should be the number one news story every day and night, for decades. People I know just keep having babies, without any idea that their kids will face the biggest challenge that mankind ever encountered. Like everything’s fine and there’s not another 7 billion people. It’s complete madness.

      Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  June 23, 2015

    This is really ironic , since they were just it by a 300 mm storm over the weekend.

    New Zealand Scientists Complain Of Gagging Over Climate Change Issues

    A coalition of New Zealand scientists on Monday warned that restrictions on government funding and stringent media regulations were silencing them from providing serious inputs to the government’s climate change policies, and that they were effectively being gagged.

    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 23, 2015

      North Island storm damage: Heartbreak of worst-ever floods

      The flooding, described as a one in 85-year event, is the worst ever recorded in Whanganui – worse even than the lower North Island flooding of 2004, which led to more than $140 million in insurance claim payouts.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11468928

      Reply
    • It’s all over the place, this same push to shut people up over climate change. Well, guess what? We’re not shutting up.

      In any case, I find it odd that the article uses the term ‘energy emitters’ when it should say ‘fossil fuel emitters.’ There’s still this meme, unconscious or not, associating emissions with energy use. But emission comes, as a vast majority, in association with fossil fuel energy use, not all energy use.

      Reply
      • I inform everybody I can/know, and direct them to quality sources of realtime information on unfolding events and our current situation. We need you, and people like you, more than ever, Robert! Even if the mainstream media covers climate change or an extreme event, they always feature a “skeptic” of downplay the results, so that you never get a clear understanding of what’s going on. Even this who are aware of climate change have no idea how dire the situation is.

        Reply
  29. PDX, near sunset, looking W N/W at the various layers of the northern atmosphere. Notice the wispy white plumes are likely smoke from fires burning on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, 061915. Note too, the lazy air currents aloft. DT LANGE CC 4.0

    Reply
  30. Here in New Orleans around 3:00 pm local time we had quite a windstorm! It started as a garden variety thunderstorm but in a few minutes the wind picked up… it sounded like a tornado but looked like a hurricane! The water was actually pushed out of one gutter and pushed it against the median, flooding the northbound left lane of Jeff Davis Ave opposite Xavier Univ.

    Reply
  31. Leland Palmer

     /  June 25, 2015

    The total number of fires continues to increase, and as of yesterday was up to 278, according to some news reports.

    http://1.usa.gov/1LrgnOk

    The 25th looks just as bad as the 24th, on NASA Worldview. Red dots are fires- time controls on the bottom show data from previous days, months, and years. The image can be zoomed.

    Some reports say, though, that total area burned is not unusual – perhaps due to massive firefighting response. Some reports in the corporate media actually acknowledge a long term trend to larger and more intense fires in the last three decades. The corporate media reports continue to emphasize the immediate cause of these fires rather than the underlying hot and dry conditions – these are “lightning caused” fires, according to the headlines. It would be more appropriate to say “global warming caused” fires that are “lightning triggered”, I think.

    Reply
    • You got it, Leland.

      I still see some reports blaming the fires on human activity. I suppose they mean the arson, or carelessness with campfires or matches they occasionally mention. But it’s funny the innate contradiction in those reports. Apparently human activity with matches is a trigger for fires, but human activity such as greenhouse gas emissions enhancing heat and drought based fire conditions in the far north doesn’t merit a mention? Media hypocrisy so loud my ears are ringing.

      You know what I want to see — a public service announcement with Smokey the Bear talking about fossil fuel burning in the context of ‘only you can prevent permafrost wildfires.’

      Reply
  1. Hot Blob #2 Takes Aim at Sea Ice — Abnormally Warm Waters Invading the Arctic Through Bering and Chukchi Seas | robertscribbler
  2. Major Arctic Fire Outbreak — Number of Active Alaskan Wildfires Doubles in Just Five Days | robertscribbler
  3. US Experiencing Worst Fire Season on Record as Blazes in Washington and Oregon Explode Twelvefold to Over 1 Million Acres | robertscribbler

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