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Smoke to continue drifting into Anchorage intermittently from Swan Lake fire

  • Author: Madeline McGee
  • Updated: August 16, 2019
  • Published August 16, 2019

Some residents in Anchorage awoke Friday to a familiar, not-altogether-welcome smell: smoke from the Swan Lake fire.

The National Weather Service says the smoke will likely continue drifting up from the Kenai Peninsula until fall rains knock down the 102,500-acre fire once and for all.

Rainfall and lower temperatures helped slow the fire’s growth last month, but the re-emergence of hotter, drier conditions more recently has caused it to perk up and create more smoke.

Southerly winds brought the smoke up Cook Inlet and into Anchorage on Friday, but Lucas Boyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Anchorage, said the smoke will likely be unnoticeable by Saturday.

The air quality in Anchorage was still listed as “good” on Friday.

Boyer said Anchorage residents should expect smoke from the fire to continue drifting into town until season-ending rains completely extinguish the fire.

Normally, he said, those rains would begin in August, which is typically a wet month for Southcentral Alaska. The first two weeks of August this year have been the driest on record, Boyer said, but rainfall is forecast for next week.

“We certainly hope the climatology and the statistics are on our side,” he said.

A fire watch is in effect for much of the Kenai Peninsula from 4 p.m. Friday though Saturday as strong winds begin blowing from the north, causing the flames to potentially spread much more rapidly, the Division of Forestry said.