ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Wildfires are blistering Alaska forests with increasing frequency and intensity and forest managers and climate scientists are trying to explain why and predict what's next.
One common factor associated with the increase — which doesn't bode well for 2015 or beyond — is warm weather, even if experts don't explicitly blame climate change.
Temperatures climbed 20 degrees above normal to the mid-80s last week in Anchorage, situated between a pair of active blazes. And climate models predict heat-trapping gasses will lead to warmer Alaska summers going forward.
Three of the worst fire seasons on record have come in the last 12 years.
A study released Wednesday from Climate Central shows the number of large Alaska wildfires nearly doubled in the last 60 years.