Though it’s unseasonably warm for mid-May and fully green grass and leafed-out trees are a joy to behold for Alaskans used to grey and brown vegetation until early June, my windows are shut tight against the spring air. The sky is mostly blue, with a light skim of clouds that promises to burn off by mid-morning obscuring the sun. Still, it’s not likely to be a good plan to go recreate out of doors today, because the haze on my windows isn’t a sign of slovenly housekeeping – it’s the smoke filling the air from two wildfires burning on the Kenai Peninsula southwest of Anchorage, the Funny River Horse Trail fire and the Tyonek fire.
A low-precip winter with unmatched warm temperatures has resulted in the predictable – a bad fire season that has already started with no signs of slowing. Fires are nothing new here or anywhere else there is fuel to burn, but the severity of wildland fires, and many times even their very ignition, are the byproducts of humans’ competing interests: to live wherever they want, to recreate in whichever way they choose, and to insist on the immediate extinguishment of all resulting blazes to eliminate the possibility of threats to human property.
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