Over the weekend, a historically massive wildfire threatened four Yup'ik villages on the Yukon River in southwestern Alaska. Rick Thoman, a Principal Investigator with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP), a NOAA RISA team, has been working to update people from the Yukon River Delta region about the fire that is threatening their communities.
While the fire started when a bolt of lightning struck the tundra, the conditions that have allowed it to spread so rapidly were created by climate change. Thoman has been communicating with state and national news media about the situation, and reported that the fire threatening St. Mary's and other nearby communities "this is the biggest tundra wildfire the region has ever seen, and the second largest tundra wildfire in Alaska in over 40 years”, and that “the dramatic increase in tundra vegetation and increase in spruce tree size is a big contributing factor". This story highlights how maintaining an ongoing relationship with rural Alaska communities, like ACCAP does, helps people know where to go for important information and climate context when a significant climate event occurs.
Read NPR’s coverage on the story »
Read the Washington Post’s coverage on the story »
Click here to read the Anchorage Daily News’ coverage on this story »
For more information, contact Genie Bey.
The Climate Program Office (CPO) manages competitive research programs in which NOAA funds high-priority climate science, assessments, decision support research, outreach, education, and capacity-building activities designed to advance our understanding of Earth’s climate system, and to foster the application of this knowledge in risk management and adaptation efforts. CPO-supported research is conducted in regions across the United States, at national and international scales, and globally. Learn more...
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