There are currently nearly fifty large wildfires blazing across twelve US states right now. Wildfires in Alaska are the top priority, where the McKinley Fire has spread to more than 4,300 acres destroying at least 80 structures so far, and with approximately 250 people battling the blaze.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center Alaska is battling eight wildfires; Texas 7; Arizona and Idaho six each; Montana and Utah five each; Oregon and Washington three each; New Mexico two; and California, Oklahoma and Wyoming one each.
The largest of Alaska’s eight, the McKinley Fire, started on Saturday near Milepost 91 of the Parks Highway. The fire quickly spread south along the road that links Anchorage and Fairbanks. An evacuation has been ordered for both sides of the Matanuska-Susitna valley highway, with shelters set up in Wasilla and Talkeetna, reports CNN. There are 1,028 structures still threatened by the fire, according to a borough property database.
The spread of fires in the state has been accelerated by the extremely dry conditions, according to the Alaska Fire Service. Fire growth slowed at the beginning of the week thanks to calmer winds and cooler temperatures and this weather trend is expected to continue.
Elsewhere, new fires were reported yesterday in Montana, Oklahoma, and Texas, and a wildfire in Arizona has grown to 1,800 acres, prompting authorities to order evacuations. The total number of acres of active fires is currently 585,083, and so far in 2019, 3.8-million acres have burned. This is significantly less than the 10-year average of just over 5-million.