It was a summer to remember in Alaska, and not for the best of reasons. This year marks what is likely to be the state’s seventh most destructive wildfire season since 1950, with over 3 million acres being scorched by flame. But why was this year so bad? Let’s take a closer look at what made this summer particularly devastating.
The Impact of Climate Change In Alaska
Climate change has been an important factor behind the record-breaking fires this summer. Warmer temperatures have caused permafrost to melt, making it easier for fires to spread from tundra regions into more densely-populated areas, including those near villages and towns. As a result, many communities in the Arctic have had to evacuate their homes due to fire danger.
In addition, drier conditions mean that more fuel is available for fire activity and can lead to larger and longer-lasting wildfires than would be typical in years with more average precipitation levels. This has also been true of other parts of the western United States which have experienced some of their worst wildfire seasons on record over the past few years.
Fighting Fire With Fire
Alaska firefighters have worked hard this summer to combat these blazes using a variety of methods, including controlled burns or prescribed fires which are set deliberately in order to reduce the amount of fuel available for large-scale wildfires later on in the season. These methods also help reduce smoke pollution and maintain healthy forests by allowing natural regeneration processes to occur without interference from human activities or development projects.
In addition, firefighters use helicopters and airplanes equipped with special water tanks or chemical fire suppressants such as foams or gels which can help contain flames before they get out of control. All of these tools combined allow firefighters to fight fire with fire—literally!
Despite all efforts put forth by firefighters and federal agencies alike, Alaska still suffered its seventh most destructive wildfire season since 1950 this year—a stark reminder that climate change is having a major impact on our environment as well as our society. We must remain vigilant as we move forward if we want to maintain healthy forests across the nation and prevent future destruction from occurring due to uncontrollable wildfires sparked by climate change. By working together through education and collaboration, we can make sure that next year’s wildfire season doesn't become yet another record-breaker like this one was!