Wildfires Across Alaska Numerous forest fires were burning in the Yukon Flats region of east-central Alaska in mid-June 2004. The fires are burning in the wake of an incredibly active week of lightning, with a record-breaking, single-day total of 8,500 strikes on June 14, followed by another 6,200 strikes the next day (according to local news reports). This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite shows some of the largest fires ten days later on June 24. Areas where MODIS detected fires are outlined in red. Thick smoke is pouring off the fires, already covering much of eastern Alaska.
Alaska : Alax̂sxax̂; Inupiaq: Alaasikaq; Pacific Gulf Yupik: Alas’kaaq; Tlingit: Anáaski) is a U.S. state on the northwest extremity of the country’s West Coast, just across the Bering Strait. A semi-exclave of the U.S., it borders the Canadian province of British Columbia and territory of Yukon to the east and southeast and has a maritime border with Russia’s Chukotka Autonomous Okrug to the west. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas of the Arctic Ocean, while the Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest.
Alaska is by far the largest U.S. state by area, comprising more total area than the next three largest states Texas, California, and Montana combined, and the seventh-largest subnational division in the world. It is the third-least populous and the most sparsely populated state, but by far the continent’s most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel, with an estimated population of 738,432 as of 2015—more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland. Approximately half of Alaska’s residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. The state capital of Juneau is the second-largest city in the United States by area, comprising more territory than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware.
Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC