The heat is on in Fairbanks, with a forecast of rising temperatures this weekend and into next week.

“We are expecting higher temperatures the next couple of days. We’re looking at highs around 87 (degrees) for Sunday and Monday, and then the same on Tuesday,” said Erin Billings, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

A high pressure ridge, currently over southern Alaska, is anticipated to move northwest, creating hot and dry conditions in the Interior.

Although Anchorage experienced record temperatures last week, Billings said she is not yet anticipating the same for Fairbanks.

“We’re looking at maybe some thunderstorm potential later in the week,” Billings said, citing a timeline of Wednesday or Thursday.

The potential of lightning increases the risk for new fire starts, especially if there isn’t much rain accompanying it, according to Tim Mowry, with the Alaska Division of Forestry.

“Basically until this high pressure ridge decides to head out of here, it’s going to be smoky, and these fires are going to grow and people just need to be careful because right now we haven’t had any lightning,” Mowry said.

Of the fires burning in the state this year, 181 were caused by lightning.

Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7510. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMlocal

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