As They Say to the Kid in Right Field, “The Ball Will Find You”
Posted 13 days ago

While the 2017 wildfire season has been comparatively quiet to date, there are indeed some fires chewing up the landscape over Alaska’s northeastern Interior, and now much of the state is beginning to notice.

This image below was taken by the Suomi National Polar Partnership (S-NPP) satellite as it glided over Alaska this afternoon.  The wavelengths shown here are exactly what the human eye would see if we could hitch a ride on the S-NPP satellite.  While weather satellites can detect signals across a variety of wavelengths including infrared and microwave, it turns out that the visible spectrum with which we humans are quite familiar is one of the best ways to highlight the smoke plumes from wildfires.  With high pressure draped along the Brooks Range, a northeasterly flow is blowing the smoke from its point of origin in the northeastern Interior toward the southwest and across much of the state.

Here in the Fairbanks area the smoke has thus far mainly remained aloft, with the results being an orange color to the sun and a tinge of smoky smell in the air. The National Weather Service forecasts a change in wind direction after a few more days which will push the smoke eastward into Canada.