Smoke outlook for 7/23 – 7/24: unhealthy air in some areas as smoke returns across Alaska

Map showing North Alaska fires and smoke impacts to Fairbanks, North Pole, and Fort Yukon on July 23, 2019.
Smoke from wildfires moderately impacting Fairbanks and North Pole, with unhealthy impacts to Fort Yukon.

Heavier smoke returns to the Upper Yukon Valley and will primarily be moving south and west today, both from the large complex fires, as well as from the fires closer to Fairbanks and Denali.

Some local areas will experience unhealthy conditions, especially in the mornings, including including Rampart, Fort Yukon, and parts of Denali National Park. Air quality in Fairbanks, North Pole, Denali National Park, and Anchorage will be moderate overall.

Residents and visitors should take appropriate steps to protect themselves in areas where they are being impacted by smoke.

North (Fairbanks and surrounding cities, Denali National Park)

Fire

Fire behavior in the Upper Yukon Valley is expected to remain active with continued high temperatures and dry conditions. Weather in the east central zone is also warmer and drier, but fire activity has moderated somewhat there.

Chart shows smoke forecast for Fort Yukon, Fairbanks and North Pole for July 22 - 24, 2019.

Smoke

With calmer wind conditions expected, there will be heavier smoke concentrations across the zone, especially in the morning. Air quality will moderate as the smoke becomes more widely dispersed as light variable winds. Fairbanks and North Pole can expect moderate to USG air quality , with smoke more concentrated in the morning and moving in again overnight. Blue Sky widespread smoke in Denali National Park over the next couple of days. Air quality is expected to be moderate, with periods of USG or even unhealthy in localized areas there as well.

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

Map showing smoke impacts from the Swan Lake Fire on July 23, 2019: air quality is moderate in Anchorage, Butte, and Palmer to the north, in Sterling in the west, and in Cooper Landing in the east, while air quality is good in Seward to the south.
Smoke from the Swan Lake Fire is drifting north, while air quality in Seward remains good.

Fire

Swan Lake Fire is approximately 102,227 acres in size with 72% of the planned objectives accomplished. The fire was active on the eastern flank yesterday in Mystery Creek drainage. Clearer and warmer conditions today could result in increased fire behavior. Showers possible overnight could lesser fire behavior tomorrow.

Smoke

Cooper Landing has and will continue to experience smoke, heavier on the western side of the community. Anchorage experienced moderate air quality all day yesterday, this is expected to continue.

Chart shows smoke forecast for communities in south Alaska from July 22 to July 24, 2019:  moderate air quality persists in Cooper Landing, and good air quality persists in Seward and Juneau, while air quality in Palmer, Butte, Anchorage, and Sterling will be variable between moderate and good.

Copper River and Juneau

Light to moderate smoke impact is expected in the Copper River Area. Models predict that smoke will mostly be flowing out to the north. Juneau should not be impacted by smoke.

Other

If you begin to notice health effects from smoke, you are encouraged to take “actions to protect yourself” listed below. A list of activity for specific fires is available at https://fire.ak.blm.gov, then AICC Situation Report.

Chart shows actions to protect yourself from smoke impacts creating a range of air quality levels from moderate to hazardous.
Checking the air quality forecasts and taking the appropriate precautions is the best way to protect yourself from negative impacts of wildfire smoke.

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