Thunderstorms are expected later this week, but they are likely to contain more lightning than much-needed rain in Interior Alaska.
The National Weather Service issued a fire weather watch for Thursday afternoon through Friday. Thunderstorms could include from 500 to 1,000 lightning strikes each day, but only light rainfall. The storms may be accompanied by Red Flag conditions including wind and low humidity, which offers the potential for numerous new fire starts.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 117 fires were burning around the state, and had consumed more than 1 million acres, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center. Heavy smoke was affecting communities throughout the Interior, from Canada to the Bering Sea coast, as well as in Southcentral Alaska. Fires burning in the Yukon were sending smoke to Southeast Alaska, as well.
A dense smoke advisory in the Fairbanks and North Pole areas has been extended through noon today. Visibilities may fall below a mile in some areas, with the worst conditions expected overnight Tuesday and this morning.
Fireworks and campfires, even in established campgrounds, have been banned in most of the state. A smoke respite room has been set up at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
For the latest information on air quality, visit the Fairbanks North Star Borough air quality division at http://data.fnsb.us/airquality/AQNearRealTime.
For the latest smoke forecast, visit http://smoke.alaska.edu/
For fire updates, visit https://akfireinfo.com/