Pacific northwest dry and burning as rest of West has a cool and moist summer respite-

We planned to go to B.C. and Alaska this summer. Glad we didn’t. Instead we stayed in Pocatello, Idaho where a very wet late spring and cooler than normal summer has greatly reduced normal fires and given clean skies.

On the other hand much of B.C. and Alaska have been very dry. Massive forest fires burn out of control, and Oregon and Washington too have recently suffered from extreme heat. Smoke from the fires has resulted in dense air pollution to the north, while most of Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming have escaped the smoke. The winds are now, however, blowing the smoke down into Montana, Northern Idaho, and across the Dakotas and Great Lakes.

Fires have broken out  in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington, setting the stage for smoky skies further to the south. Some relatively small forest fires are now burning in Idaho and Montana (just updated), although this season will probably not see many large forest fires due to the still relatively wet wood.

You can follow the fires on Inciweb and the National Interagency Fire Center. Note: these web sites are always on my blogroll.

You can follow air quality in North America at U.S. Air Quality. This site has a lot of photos and graphics.

Stories: Workers overwhelmed as B.C. burns. Rod Mickleburgh.  Globe and Mail.

Out-of-state smoke rolls into Montana: Plume from British Columbia fire lingers in area. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian
Wildfires slow to start this year in south central Idaho. By Nate Poppino. Magic Valley Times-News writer

Fires burning wild across Interior Alaska. Smoke: Two expand beyond 800,000 acres; 30 cabins threatened. By  Kyle Hopkins. Well 30 threatened cabins doesn’t sound like a major event, but 800,000 acres in two fires does.

I should add that the desert southwest has suffered from extreme heat (more extreme than the usual during the summer)

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

One Response to Wildfires rage in British Columbia, Alaska

  1. avatar Ryan says:

    These wet springs make for a big fire season. In Southcentral AK it has been flood stage on the kenai and otehr rivers the last few weeks as well.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

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