Fires Plague Alaska, British Columbia Eyes Rain


(publishedby: Planet Ark, 5 July2004)

CANADA: July 5, 2004

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Alaskans were being warned about smoke from large fires burning in the state on Friday, while British Columbia forest-fire crews were looking for help from the weather as they battled blazes.

Sixty two forest fires were burning in Alaska on Friday, including the 225,000-acre Boundary blaze north of Fairbanks, the state’s second largest city, where residents were told to protect themselves against poor air quality.

Weather conditions were carrying smoke hundreds of miles from the state’s larger blazes.

“It’s impacting all of Alaska,” said Gary Guay of Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

Smoke from Alaska was also drifting east into Canada’s Yukon territory, which has reported 151 fires of its own. The fire danger were listed as “extreme” across the territory.

To the south, the British Columbia Forest Service said there were 443, mostly small, wildfires in the province on Friday, compared with 110 at the same time last year, which was one of the worst fire seasons on record.

“The weather pattern is indicating improved conditions, which includes rain and cooler temperatures over the next week,” the B.C. forest service said in daily update on fire conditions.



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