Wind blows volcanic ash to Kodiak Island, prompts Southcentral fire warnings

Zaz Hollander

Dry, windy weather continues to trigger fire-danger and air-quality warnings -- even a volcanic ash alert -- after a series of small fires were reported across Southcentral Alaska over the weekend.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough on Monday morning issued an air-quality advisory for areas of blowing dust including Palmer, Wasilla and Butte from 9 a.m. until the wind subsides. Due to dry conditions and high wind, the air quality may become unhealthy to hazardous. Daily information on air quality in the Mat-Su is available at (907) 352-3878.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for dangerous wildland fire conditions from Kodiak and Bristol Bay across the Anchorage Bowl to the Susitna and Matanuska valleys and the Copper River Basin. The warnings, which reflect high winds, expire Monday night.

An ATV that caught fire sparked a 1-acre burn near Jim Lake on Sunday, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center. Helicopters dropped water on the fire until the Gannett Glacier hotshot crew could get there. The crew continued to work the fire on Monday.

Numerous small fires were reported over the weekend, including a small grass and forest fire in the Chulitna area and a grass fire near the Seward shooting range.

The weather service also issued a special statement Monday for Kodiak Island: Strong northwest winds across Bristol Bay are "resuspending" ash from Katmai volcano, and some of that ash and dust is blowing across Shelikof Strait to the island, mainly on its southern to western end.

Reach Zaz Hollander at or 257-4317.