2018 June Monthly Report
The Mooseheart and Zitziana River fires about 100 miles west of Fairbanks were the most noteworthy wildfires of the month with estimates of over 53,000 and 34,000 acres burned, respectively. Both fires were lightning caused and threatened a number of cabins and allotments. Large regions of the interior were affected by dense smoke from these fires by mid-June (smoke.alaska.edu). By the end of the month the fire activity was largely reduced. A temporary flight restriction was issued for the area. There were several other, smaller wild fires throughout the month caused by human activity and lightning strikes, as well as one coal seam fire northeast of Healy. In total, about 250 000 acres have burned so far during the 2018 wild fire season.
Chukchi Sea ice extent decreased by 13 % through June. The very early loss of ice in the area is likely to have contributed to the exceptionally high temperatures in Kotzebue. The unusually early melt did not spread to Utqiaġvik, which unlike Kotzebue experienced a cooler than normal June.
Southeast Alaska has been experiencing relatively dry conditions throughout the past winter and spring seasons and the Southeast rainforest saw what has been described as moderate drought conditions by the NWS, lasting up to around mid-June. By the end of the month, precipitation for the year to date was approaching values close to normal. Haines, Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island experienced problems with their hydroelectric power generation
due to late runoff and low water levels in spring. The drought may also affect the fisheries as the summer progresses, though this could be mitigated by more rain in summer.