Tag Archives: Fairbanks

Lat 65 Roundup

Lightning strikes on Monday; Map credit: AICC

After a lull in lightning strikes to start the season, the skies have been very luminous of late. Strikes across the state have been widespread since the weekend. Over 5600 strikes on Monday, with over 15,000 strikes for the three days of Sunday-Tuesday.

A wildfire started near the Dalton Highway and the Arctic Circle, which closed a popular campground there.

So far, over 1 million acres have burned in Alaska this season, which is the earliest we have crossed that threshold in many decades. At least since 1969, Alaska has not seen 1 million acres burn by this date. Records were a bit sketchier back then, as recording acres burned in rural Alaska is a bit challenging.

Fairbanks hit 80F for the first time this season on the Solstice.

As of Monday, Alaska had seen 289 wildfires this season.

Smoke rolling in on Wednesday night


Midnight Sun Baseball

117th Midnight Sun Game; First pitch 10pm

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Update: The Alaska Goldpanners won the game 10-9 in the 10th inning. The game ended at 1:40am ADT. The entire game is played without the use of the artificial lights. Sun power only.


Smoke from a distant fire


Smoke moving in

Western Alaska wildfires; Image credit: UAF/GINA

Most of the wildfires burning in Alaska right now are near the coast, but smoke from those fires have finally made its way into Interior Alaska. The sun was a bright orange pumpkin on Sunday morning.

The largest wildfire right now is the East Fork Fire near the community of St Marys. At 122,000 acres burned, it is the largest tundra fire since 2007, and the second largest in the past 40 years. St Marys is being evacuated, and the fire is now threatening other communities. The fire was started by lightning.

BLM/AFS Situational Report; Graphic credit: BLM/AFS

According to the BLM and Alaska Fire Service, Alaska has seen 314,057 acres burned so far this fire season. That is particularly note worthy, since it is already more than the entire season in 2020 and 2021.

As for the Interior, Fairbanks has now gone 25 days without measurable rainfall. It is a rare summer dry streak, as we have only seen two years with more: 1947 (28 days) and 1957 (26 days).


Walter Harper Day

Looking down on Muldrow Glacier; Photo credit: Hudson Stuck, 1913

Today is Walter Harper Day in Alaska. Harper, at the age of 20, was the first person to stand on the summit of Denali on June 7, 1913.

It took the expedition three months to travel from Fairbanks to the summit of North America’s highest peak. The final four weeks of the trek were spent on The Mountain.

Walter Harper in 1916

Harper and his new bride were on the doomed final voyage of the steamer Princess Sophia, when it ran aground in Lynn Canal, and eventually sank when a storm came up. He was 25.


Looking for 60

So far, the month of May, has been a bit chilly, with temps running around 15F degrees below average. We have not hit 60F yet, and people are talking.

The long term average for the first 60 degree day in Fairbanks is May 2. The two latest first 60F degree days on record are May 24, 1935 and May 25, 1964.

2022 may give us our first 60 on Thursday or Friday.

In other news: Fairbanks began its 73 day period of 24 hours of daylight and civil twilight yesterday.


Seattle Center

The Mediterranean Inn, Seattle

I had a quick trip down to the Lower 48 before the chaos of summer hits. It was the first personal, leisure trip I’ve taken since the pandemic began.

I have been to Seattle many times, but this was the first time I stayed in Seattle Center. The Mediterranean Inn was my crash pad of choice. A very laid back, no rush, quiet sort of place within walking distance of pretty much anything one needed to do. My layover was hockey related: a Kraken game at the new Climate Pledge Arena. My walk to the rink took five minutes. The monorail is close by, as are a huge selection of restaurants. There was no shortage of pubs to choose from either.

The view from the Mediterranean’s roof top deck

The Inn has a small deck on the roof, with a great view of Seattle. I guess it is early in the year, and I was more than a little amused by the quantity of outdoor propane heaters, but even with those, I rarely found anyone else up there when I ventured top side.

Climate Pledge and the Space Needle from the roof

The flight to Seattle from Fairbanks was full to the overhead bins, but otherwise uneventful. My next leg was a bit more challenging. Alaska Airlines has suddenly had some issues. Growing too quick; a sudden influx of air travelers; a shortage of pilots? All of those things have led to a recent cancellation of flights. I was caught up in that mess, although compared to others, my situation was just an inconvenience.

I have traveled from Alaska long enough to know, if at all possible, give yourself extra time. By extra time, I mean days. Luckily, when I received the “Dear Passenger” letter from Alaska Airlines, I had the time to adjust my flight. I have been stuck in worse cities than Seattle.


Busy Airport Season?

Fairbanks International Airport

Like the cruise industry, the air travel industry is also predicting more tourists into Alaska, and especially, Fairbanks in 2022. It should be noted here that Fairbanks is not a major travel destination for Alaska. We tend to be a bit of an afterthought, which is fine by most of us.

The Fairbanks International Airport announced that several carriers will return to Fairbanks after a 1-2 year hiatus. United Airlines will return with a non-stop flight to/from Chicago. Delta Airlines will add additional flights with Seattle and Minneapolis. Alaska Airlines will bump flights to Seattle to 5; and service to Anchorage will increase to 8 flights.

Sun Country will return with Saturday flights between Fairbanks and Minneapolis, and Condor Air will return to Fairbanks after two years, with direct, weekly flights to Frankfurt, Germany. Air North will once again be flying between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, YT.

The list of small airlines and charters flying into remote Alaska is extensive.

Unfortunately, one can expect flight costs to soar.


A bit of snow


Hoarding Daylight

Moose tracks

It’s still winter in Alaska: it was -10F on Sunday morning, and expected to drop to -20F Monday night, but the switch has been flipped. The sled dogs are running, the ice carvings are on display, and the aurora shows itself almost nightly.

March in Alaska.

Already, we have over 13 hours of visible light during the day, and our days are gaining length by almost 7 minutes with each spin of the Earth.

March is a beautiful time in Alaska’s Interior.