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    Wildfires Wreak Havoc in Alaska, Southeastern Canada

    By Story by Jon Auciello, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
    June 01, 2010, 1:47:32 AM EDT

    Massive wildfires, some burning out of control, have been separately razing portions of Alaska and Quebec while streaming smoke into neighboring locations in recent days.

    On Monday, the USDA Forest Service listed 14 large wildfires raging in the United States. Eight of those were in Alaska.

    The Toklat Wildfire in central Alaska had grown to over 100,000 acres, a 40-percent increase in 24 hours, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center.

    Persistent heat and a lack of rain have been rampant in interior Alaska over the past two weeks.

    In Fairbanks, high temperatures have averaged more than 11 degrees F above normal in that time, while it has received only 40 percent of its normal May precipitation.

    Highs in Anchorage have also been above normal, averaging over 10 degrees F during the past week. Only 26 percent of typical precipitation for May has occurred in Anchorage.

    Unseasonable warmth will again be found across much of Alaska on Tuesday. This warm and unstable air mass will bring a threat for showers and thunderstorms across the interior, especially in the afternoon. Smoky conditions will continue across the central areas.

    Meanwhile, Quebec's forest fire protection agency, SOPFEU, reported 52 wildfires were active on Sunday, with eight being classified as out of control.

    The smoke from both regions has been wide-ranging. Smoke from the Quebec fires has shrouded the skylines of Montreal and has also been clearly evident in Ottawa.

    Winds have ushered the smoke into parts of northern New England as well.

    The many fires across Alaska have had similar effects. Fairbanks, for example, is expected to receive a steady stream of smoke regardless of the wind's direction.

    "There are fires in almost every direction. So whatever direction the wind blows we're going to get smoke," Pete Buist, a fire information officer, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

    As AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski previously reported, even though stormy weather could assist firefighters, a stray lightning bolt sparked away from the storm's center could ignite more fires.

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