Alaska News

Wildfire smoke from Southwest Alaska hinders air quality and visibility in Southcentral

Wildfire haze and smoke

Smoke from dozens of active wildfires in Southwest Alaska moved across a large portion of the state on Sunday, worsening the visibility and air quality in several regions, including around Anchorage and Southcentral.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation issued air quality advisories for Southcentral, Western Interior, Southwest, Central and Eastern regions. The advisories were expected to be in place through late Tuesday afternoon.

As of Sunday evening, the overall air quality in Southcentral Alaska was classified as moderate, but it could be considered unhealthy depending on the wind flow, according to the advisory. People sensitive to particle pollution should consider spending less time outdoors or reducing the amount of physical activity, said Adam Przepiora, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Related: Tundra fire is still moving closer to Southwest Alaska villages, though at a slower pace

The smoke, which was mostly aloft and creating hazy conditions, could also reduce visibility and cause minor aviation concerns, Przepiora said.

“The smoke is expected to generally thicken and get closer to the surface overnight,” Przepiora said Sunday evening. “It should gradually disperse tomorrow into Tuesday but it’s still going to remain hazy through the early part of the week.”

As the winds turn more to the south on Monday, and then southeast on Tuesday, the smoke over Southcentral should ease up, Przepiora said. Additionally, cloud cover is expected to build in above the area.


In Southwest Alaska, smoke remained thick on Sunday, with visibilities reduced to as low as 3 miles at some locations, according to the Weather Service. Haze was expected to continue to lower visibility intermittently over at least the next couple days.

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Alena Naiden

Alena Naiden writes about communities in the North Slope and Northwest Arctic regions for the Arctic Sounder and ADN. Previously, she worked at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.