Alaska: The Fiery Arc

Lighting the panoramic horizons in every direction, insatiable tongues of fire lapped steadily across Alaska last week in the worst series of forest fires that the state has seen in nearly a decade. Culminating a summer in which more than 200 fires have occurred, the biggest fire of all raged around the Fortymile River's West Fork, consuming the black spruce, cottonwood and paper birch and turning the green hills to barren black. At week's end, six other major fires spreading across a 500-mile arc still ravaged the nation's largest state.

As Large as Rhode Island. So far, the fires have...

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