Five more hotshot crews are leaving today from Redding to assist with fires in Alaska: Elk Mountain, Modoc, Mad River, Eldorado and American River.
Alaska is in Preparedness Level 5, the maximum on the scale. The state has had more wildfire activity than usual for the last month or so, but record high temperatures last week beefed it up even more. The number of acres burned in the state varies greatly annually. In most years the total acreage burned is between 300,000 and 500,000. In 2013 it was 1.3 million and in 2015, 5.1 million acres burned. So far this year the total is 937,000 acres. The average over the last 10 years is 1.3 million.
The largest fire currently burning in the state is the 145,000-acre Hess Creek Fire 26 miles southeast of Steven’s Village. The blaze was very active Sunday, adding another 30,000 acres.
The second largest is the 96,000-acre Swan Lake Fire 50 air miles south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula. The activity on this fire has slowed in recent days.