2017 at year-to-date is currently ranking at the 2nd highest acres burned on record! And much of that burning is happening in the forests of Alaska where climate change is having huge effects on both precipitation and warming temperatures.
I have to admit, I was surprised to see this amount of acreage burned. But, in reality it is really not that surprising. A very positive winter in terms of precipitation ended much of the drought in CA and the West. However, this was allowed for abundant vegetation growth for active fuels available. And now that summer long since come, the dry season means numerous fires from human activity and lightning from dry thunderstorms. I’m addition, abnormally dry soil conditions have begun to redevelop over the Four Corners States as well as rapidly deteriorating drought on the high plains of Montana.
Here’s Alaska’s situation if you were so curious. They have become abnormally dry to moderate drought recently across much of the state.
If there are positives, it is that for parts of the Desert Southwest, the Monsoon, which can bring potentially fire starting thunderstorms can also bring beneficial rains to moisten soils and fuels, so as long as there isn’t too much falling at once (flash flooding from some storms is a common problem every year).
Wildfires have and are expected to continue to statistically increase in a warming world because of global climate change.