According to reports from the Alaska Forest Service, 50 active fires were burning in the state as of August 1, 2002. More than 1 million acres have burned so far this year. These true- and false-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images from August 2002 show multiple large fires (red dots) emitting thick plumes of smoke. The smoke blankets the southern part of the state. The Yukon River comes in at upper right of many of the images, and flows toward the bottom left.
These scattered large fires burning in Alaska may be the result of extreme lightning activity experienced from July 17 to the 19, 2002, when the region received 12,000 lightning strikes.
In the false-color image, vegetation is bright green, and burned areas are reddish brown.