Smoke generators provide a layer of concealment for opposing forces in the Donnelly Training Area during exercise Arctic Anvil 19-01 on October 11, 2018. (U.S. Army/John Pennell)
Federal fire bosses are plotting a strategy to battle an unusually large early-season wildland fire near Delta Junction once it leaves military lands, where it's already scorched thousands of acres.
The Oregon Lakes Impact Area Fire — named for a munitions-training range within the Donnelly Training Area — was burning across nearly 7,000 acres of military land about 11 miles south of Delta by Monday morning, doubling in size since last week despite cooler, wetter weather.
That's the largest active fire in Alaska — and it's barely May.
"It's pretty early for a fire that size," said Beth Ipsen, public information officer for the Bureau of Land Management's Alaska Fire Service in Fairbanks.
The U.S. military has been shifting its focus to preparing for a potential great-power conflict, changing how it uses its weapons and where it operates. For the Marine Corps, that increasingly means getting ready to fight at the top of the world.