After a record-slow start, the Alaska wildfire season tally as of Wednesday stood at 343 fires covering 297,747 acres, according to state wildfire managers.
That is well below the recent years’ median of about 1 million acres but within the usual range of the past two decades.
Almost all of Alaska’s wildfires came extremely late. Less than 3,000 acres had burned in Alaska through late July, said Beth Ipsen, a public information officer with the Bureau of Land Management’s Alaska Fire Service.
That situation was transformed when a wave of lightning strikes hit.
In a single day with more than 16,300 strikes — July 24 – about 30 new fires were ignited, according to the Alaska Fire Service.
More days of heavy lightning and new wildfires followed.