Saturday, August 18, 2012

Smoky in Fairbanks

The dry summer in Fairbanks is coming back to haunt us.  The Dry Creek fire, centered 11 miles southwest of Eielson AFB,  reportedly started by lightning June 23rd but dormant in July, sprang back to life a few days ago with the warm dry weather of late. The Alaska Fire Service now estimates 3000 acres burned, an increase of 2500 acres since Wednesday. The plume was visible from UAF for a while late Saturday morning, but soon became hidden by smoke as the fire was fanned by a southeast breeze, so directing the smoke directly toward Fairbanks. For a while Saturday afternoon visibility was under 15 miles from UAF West Ridge, as the buttes south of the river were obscured. Interestingly, the Saturday afternoon sounding from Fairabnks should a well defined inversion aloft, which served to trap the smoke in the lowest 2300 meters of the atmosphere.

Through Friday Fairbanks airport had received only 0.26 inches of rain thus far in August, and the Woodsmoke cooperative station, near North Pole had just 0.06 inches for the month.

Update: Here is a photo of the fire Sunday afternoon looking southeast from UAF West Ridge:


  1. Seems strange with such low August rainfall totals in the Interior.

  2. Not quite the same pattern as the record dry Augusts of 2004 and 2005, both of which featured big highs aloft, but the outcome has been similar.