Dry Conditions Fuel an Alaska Wildfire That's Bigger Than Chicago

From the Source: 

"Alaska is battling a huge wildfire this Memorial Day. In the last 24 hours the fire has spread to become bigger than Chicago, prompting officials to issue an order for about 900 people as it threatens Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, a region south of Anchorage. With just 30 percent of the fire’s 243 square miles contained, 1,000 structures have been evacuated.

Large wildfires are familiar to the region, where 1 million acres burn annually, and yet it is unusually early in wildfire season to see a fire of this size, a spokesperson said. Citing “unusually dry conditions” as the cause, the Anchorage Daily News points out the state has had “unseasonably warm spring temperatures.”

But the real culprit for worsening fires is climate change, which boosts optimal conditions like heat, drought, and dry weather. This winter, parts of the country were hit by frigid temperatures while Alaska saw temperatures in the high 40s and 50s and had its all-time warmest January. In other words, Alaska saw spring-like temperatures as early as January and February this year. Some scientists say climate change fuels this extreme jet stream."

  Above: Credit - NASA

Above: Credit - NASA