At the time I’m writing this, there are 69 forest fires burning in Alaska. They dominate Alaska’s interior region, where a hot and dry climate creates the setting for ignition by lightning. So far, approximately 1.5 million acres of land has burned this year. Not as bad as the 7 million acres burned in 2004, but the smoke is ubiquitous across the interior. It appears in degree of thickness based on the wind speed and direction.
The smoke is a little demon to a landscape photographer (actually, a big demon). I just returned from the Brooks range where I had planned some aerial photography. Much to my disappointment, the smoke covered hundreds of miles of the Brooks range mountains due to winds out from the south, and I scarcely took a photo, save to show how bad the smoke was.
If you have ever been in the air in that country, you will know how disheartening it is to look but not see, the amazing beauty of the mountain landscapes. But, that is part of the game and the business of landscape photography. Forest fires have their rightful place in an ecosystem and its cycle of life. Furthermore, Alaska seems to withhold her secrets, even from the most ardent pursuer. But, I have hopes at a few more attempts and will post those results, should that come to fruition!