Wildfire threat increases in Interior as snow melts

tree fire

Last year, a number of large fires struck interior Alaska following a prolonged dry spell. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Fire Service)

As snow melts, wildfire is becoming a threat. Red Flag warnings are in effect for areas of South Central and Interior Alaska, including Fairbanks, Delta Junction and Tok.

Receding snow has exposed grasses and other dead vegetation, and National Weather Service meteorologist John Lingas says persistent high pressure is allowing them to dry out quickly.

“It [has] really inhibited substantial moisture from getting into it, so we get a little bit of cloud in,” Lingas said. “But the dry conditions near the surface persist and, as each day goes on, they just get a little drier and that’s prompted relative humidity at or around 15 percent here over the last couple of afternoons and we expect the same today.”

Lingas says a weak system is expected to provide some relief for the Fairbanks area tomorrow, with a chance of a little rain, or even snow at higher elevations, before things warm up and dry out again later in the week.

“High pressure over the Alaska Peninsula now is gonna get shoved northward into the Interior and it’s gonna grow and get stronger, so we are looking for even warmer temperatures at the end of the week and then a return also to dry conditions,” Lingas said.

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