Rain Helps Slow A Vigorous Fire Season In the Interior

Areas of the Interior have received rain in recent days, helping to slow wildfires that have charred more than 4.7 million acres, and fire season is far from over.

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A swath of the interior, including the Fairbanks and Denali areas got a thorough soaking over the weekend. National Weather service meteorologist Benjamin Bartus credits a low pressure system that parked itself over the region, and is expected to yield additional showers before moving out. Longer range, he says it appears that the general weather trend has changed.

The rain subdued some of the numerous wildfires around the interior at time of the summer when fire mangers reassess strategy. Division of Forestry spokesman Tim Mowry says mid-July is known as the conversion date.

Not all areas received rain over the weekend and a few new fires have been reported, including a a lightning caused blaze on the Seward Peninsula. Mowry says some aircraft and personnel have been released from service in the state, but minimal demand in the lower 48 has allowed Alaska to retain a lot of suppression resources, including over 2 thousand firefighters. Given the amount and size of Alaska’s wildfires this summer, Mowry says plenty of work remains to be done in the state.

Mowry says state and federal agencies have already spent about a hundred million dollars fighting fire in Alaska this summer.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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