Late-season fires flare up in drought-stricken parts of Alaska

Late-season wildfires during one of the driest summers on record in Alaska have destroyed homes, forced evacuations, closed roads and schools and poured sometimes-dangerous levels of smoke into the state's most populous region.

About 80 miles north of Anchorage, the 3,000-acre McKinley Fire had destroyed more than 80 structures as of Tuesday, according to local media.

Anchorage is currently classified as being in a “severe” drought, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System, a first for the city.

Smoky wildfires have been a near-constant in Anchorage this summer, which so far has been the hottest on record and, for many areas, the driest on record.

As of Monday, Alaska had 659 wildfires for the year that burned about 2.5 million acres, making 2019 among the biggest fire seasons on record for the state, according to fire managers.

(Production: Bob Mezan)

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