Flame broiled Alaska: With soaring temperatures and crackling lightning, wildfires erupt across the state

After months of record-setting warmth culminating in extremely high temperatures last week, much of Alaska was primed for wildfire.

Things had been quiet until then, despite the warmest January through June period in Alaska since 1895.

Then the lightning came — with a sudden vengeance: some 45,570 strikes between July 13 and 16th.

The result: Flames finally exploded through Alaskan landscapes, with 114 new wildfires resulting in a more-than-100,000-acre increase in the total number

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