Smoke Outlook for 7/18 – 7/19: Smoke moving back into Southcentral communities

As activity at the Swan Lake Fire picks up, wind patterns are once again expected to push smoke into Cooper Landing and Sterling communities, typically during morning and evening times. Forecasters are calling for higher temps to begin making its way into Southcentral, with fire behavior and associated smoke levels also increasing relative to the temperature.

Northern cities including Fairbanks have experienced a decrease in smoke related to recent precipitation which has dampened fire behavior in many areas. The exception to the cooler and wetter trend is the Upper Yukon Zone which is setting record or near-record fuel indices in conjunction with temperatures in the 80s and relative humidity in the 20s. More than 7,000 lightning strikes occurred yesterday, raising the potential for new fires.

South (Anchorage, Mat-Su, and the Kenai Peninsula)

Fire

Map of Anchorage, Butte, Sterling, Cooper Landing, and Seward.
Map of Anchorage, Butte, Sterling, Cooper Landing, and Seward.

Swan Lake fire is approximately 100,812 acres and is 25% contained. The fire has been smoldering and creeping in the drainages on the eastern flank. The rest of the fire remains fairly inactive. Lower temperatures and increased RH values have reduced fire activity. This trend is expected to continue through mid-week, when fire activity is anticipated to pick up.

Smoke

Southeast winds are expected this afternoon, Cooper Landing and Sterling could see smoke impacts, more so in the evenings and mornings. Increased fire behavior and smoke production are anticipated later in the week with a drying trend in the weather.

Southeast

Juneau should not see any smoke impacts today.

Air quality table showing forecasted smoke impacts for Thursday 7/18 and Friday 7/19
Air quality table showing forecasted smoke impacts for Thursday 7/18 and Friday 7/19

North (Fairbanks and surrounding cities, Denali National Park)

Fire

Cooler weather and scattered showers have slowed growth of fires near Fairbanks. Other areas such as the Upper Yukon Valley continue to have hot, dry conditions with intense fire activity. To see a summary of activity on a specific fire, go to: https://fire.ak.blm.gov/ then select AICC Situation Report.

Smoke

With less fire activity in the Fairbanks area, air quality has been good to moderate for several days. Today the Fairbanks / North Pole area could have some smoke coming in from large fires to the west, but conditions are still expected to stay within the moderate range. In areas with large, active fires such as the Upper Yukon Valley and the Galena Zone there may be smoke at unhealthy levels. If you begin to notice health effects from smoke, you are encouraged to follow the “actions to protect yourself” listed below.

Other

The monitor at Denali National Park is not reporting data. Blue Sky computer modeling indicates good to moderate air quality in the park today.

Image of Air quality table showring forecasted smoke levels for Thursday 7/18 and Friday 7/19
Air quality table showring forecasted smoke levels for Thursday 7/18 and Friday 7/19

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