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Lightning and fire taking a toll

Submitted by Amy Hartley
Phone: (907) 474-5823


Forest fires are extreme, cataclysmic events that endanger people, property, and air quality. Lightning also is an extreme, cataclysmic event on a smaller scale. Lightning causes many of the forest fires that burn millions of acres in Alaska each summer. Large forest fires can create their own weather systems, which can cause lightning.

University of Alaska Southeast Assistant Professor of Physics Matt Heavner will present a free lecture on lightning and fire at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24 at the Chena River Convention Center in Fairbanks. During his hour-long lecture, Heavner will present an overview of both lightning and fire. Heavner will describe the occurrence of lightning and forest fires in Alaska, the United States, and around the world. Heavner also will show examples of the feedback between lightning and forest fires. Heavner's lecture is the last of six weekly presentations included in the 2004 Science for Alaska public lecture series, sponsored by the UAF Geophysical Institute and the University of Alaska Foundation. All lectures are held at 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Feb. 24 in the Chena River Convention Center.

Additional biographical information about Matt Heavner and a comprehensive schedule of the statewide lectures can be found on the Science for Alaska free public lecture series website: www.scienceforalaska.com.

Matt Heavner, Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Alaska Southeast (907) 465-6503 Amy Hartley, Public Information Officer, UAF Geophysical Institute: (907) 474-5823