Alaska: dramatic situation due to wildfires



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Alaska: dramatic situation due to wildfires

Alaska is under siege due to the numerous fires currently affecting the country. About 600,000 hectares have been burned so far this year. About 180 people left St. Mary's village and a neighboring village, Pitkas Point. Fire and communications expert Grabinski said: "From 2000 to 2020, we saw about two and a half times more fires than in the previous two decades.

Not only are we getting warmer summers, but we are also seeing an increasing trend in fires. lightning strikes, especially in the interior of Alaska. " In the capital Anchorage, it is the second hottest June ever, says climate scientist Brian Brettschneider: "This fire season could become historic if the rains are delayed.

Now we have enough fire and it will take some time to put it out." According to climatologist Rick Thoman, multiple factors have led Alaska to experience one of the most problematic seasons ever due to wildfires. The lack of snow during the past winter has led to drier soil and vegetation than usual at the beginning of the season.

The presence of numerous thunderstorms and lightning in June, which, in the presence of dry ground, easily triggered numerous fires in the South-West of the country. At St. Mary's, the residents who stayed in town thanked the firefighters by delivering them homemade bread and meals.

The fire caused by the lightning never crossed the main containment line and nearly all of the displaced have now returned home. Residents, who depend on fish and wildlife crops to feed their families, now have to contend with the aftermath of the fire.

Alaska, as well as the nearby areas of the Arctic, has suffered evident effects of global warming: compared to the 1970s, substantial temperature variations have been recorded throughout the state.

The most obvious anomalies, with temperatures of 9-10 degrees higher, were observed in the northernmost areas of Alaska during the winter, spring and autumn. During the summers, however, temperatures increased by an average of 5-6 degrees along the south-eastern and north-western coasts.

The situation is particularly complex due to the intense heat and drought. In recent weeks, more than 300 fires have broken out, and to this day 100 still continue to burn. Among these is the East Fork Fire, the fire that he knows burned over 165,000 acres and is now the fifth largest tundra fire ever recorded in the state.