Wildfires that are blanketing Interior Alaska with smoke grew by tens of thousands of acres Monday night and Tuesday.
Meantime, a combination of hot weather and low humidity has fire officials nervous about their ability to tackle any new fires as they battle massive blazes to the north and west of Fairbanks.
"There's no sign of moisture or a cloud in the sky," said Division of Forestry spokesman Pete Buist. "A lot of smoke, but no clouds."
The latest fire started Monday about 20 miles outside of Fairbanks, diverting water-scooping aircraft and crews from one of the larger fires. By Monday night, it had grown to about 1,000 acres and was threatening roughly 30 cabins, Buist said.
Elsewhere, the two largest collections of wildfires grew by roughly 40,000 acres to reach an estimated 856,000 acres as of Tuesday afternoon.
The Railbelt Complex of fires is burning about 12 miles northwest of Nenana and grew to 483,000 acres. The Crazy Mountain Complex, which burned within four miles of the village of Circle over the weekend, was about 373,000 acres. Forestry spokeswoman Sarah Saarloos in Circle said it's tough to gauge the exact size because fire officials have been unable to fly the perimeter because of all the smoke.
Firefighters late Tuesday recommended that residents of Windy Creek subdivision, 13 miles southeast of Anderson, evacuate.
A season of hot, arid weather made it hard for firefighters to contain the flames, with Fairbanks recording its driest summer month on record.
Monday night, firefighters hoped to knock down the newest fire causing concern just outside of Fairbanks before it could grow too large to contain. That didn't happen, Buist said Tuesday, though at least the flames were spreading away from the city.
"So far, as far as we can tell, we haven't lost any cabins. There may have been some outbuildings lost," he said.