If you have taken a step outside in the past few weeks, you may have noticed that it is blisteringly hot outside. The Northern Hemisphere is suffering a massive heatwave.
One of the common side effects for a heatwave is the drying out of vegetation, both alive and dead, increasing the risk of fire hazards. This is exactly what is happening in Alaska and Texas, and as such both have had emergency declarations enacted.
The combined landmass of the two states is close to one million square miles. Add in the fact that Alaska is not very populated but instead has many forests, and you have potentially billions of trees at risk for burning.
The two states are enabling two slightly different approaches to help mitigate disaster, but both have an impact on truckers.
For Texas, it is a standard hours-of-service exemption for “commercial motor vehicle operations while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts related to the emergency resulting from the widespread wildfires in the State of Texas.” While specifics are not named, it is safe to assume that this means firefighting equipment, but may also include basic necessities for citizens who have been displaced by wildfire.
Alaska is taking a more indirect route, earmarking one million dollars from its Disaster Relief Fund to spend on general relief services. This would presumably include the delivery of goods needed for citizens displaced by the wildfires, including those displaced as a result of the East Fork fire that has burned over 125,000 as of the time of writing. While this is significantly smaller than the California Dixie fire of last year at approximately 960,000 acres, it still has plenty of potential to surpass it.
Summer is the wildfire season. With the two largest states in the Union both suffering from extreme burning, it is possible that wind gusts can push the smoke into other states. With the help of truckers providing goods to help combat the fires, Alaska and Texas can help protect their natural resources instead of having them go up in smoke, and perhaps help other states as well.
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