• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 43s

Air quality fluctuates in Anchorage as Southcentral wildfires burn

By Lauren Maxwell 3:26 PM May 22, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

Air quality has improved in Anchorage since Thursday morning, but health officials say residents can’t bank on it staying that way.

A haze hung over Anchorage in the morning that made it difficult to make out the Chugach Mountains. Smoke from the Tyonek and Funny River fires can still be smelled in Anchorage, and drove municipal air quality levels to a “very unhealthy” designation Thursday morning. The health department recommended everyone remain indoors if feasible and avoid strenuous exercise.

But by Thursday afternoon, that recommendation had changed and air quality was considered “moderate” and improving.

“It just kind of tells you how unpredictable this whole thing is,” said Steve Morris with the city health department. “It could be very different from one hour to the next or even one part of town to the next.”

The National Weather Service predicts northerly winds will clear the Anchorage Bowl of even more smoke over the next few hours. But by late Friday afternoon that is expected to change once again.

“By tomorrow afternoon or evening we are going to start to see a wind shift and this will bring a steady south wind,” said the National Weather Service’s Christian Cassell. “This is going to push the smoke up towards our area.”

Cassell said dry, smoky weather is predicted for the Memorial Day weekend, with no rain or changes in sight.

Dust masks

The DHHS says that dust masks and surgical masks do not protect your lungs from small particles in smoke. Health officials recommend using N95 masks, which can be bought at hardware stores. N95 masks have two straps and have a “NIOSH” stamp, indicating that they’re certified respirators. To offer proper protection, however, the mask needs to fit to your face properly.

To check the current Anchorage air quality status, call (907) 343-4899.

–Hope Miller contributed reporting

 

Latest Stories

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: The legitimacy of Donald Trump

    by John Tracy on Jan 19, 16:38

    America will swear in a new commander in chief Friday. The ceremony in Washington, D.C. is intended to demonstrate, once again, that a peaceful transition of power is central to our democracy. However, many members of Congress now say they will boycott the inauguration. When Georgia Rep., and civil rights icon, John Lewis said he […]

  • News

    Alaska gasline corporation opens office in Japan

    by Liz Raines on Jan 19, 16:28

    The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) is opening an office in Tokyo, according to a Jan. 12 notice from the agency and Gov. Bill Walker. The notice specifies Masatoshi Nick Shiratori as director of the office. Aside from the notice, the decision has not been publicly announced. Grace Jang, a spokesperson for Walker, called use […]

  • New Anchorage nonprofit promotes positive police interactions

    by Daybreak Staff on Jan 19, 15:22

    Newly formed nonprofit Anchorage Cops for Community is looking to help foster positive relations between police and the community they serve. It’s an outreach program sponsored through Anchorage Police Department Employee Association (APDEA), but chair Angelina Fraize says they hope to do more, like their popular monthly Coffee with a Cop events. The APDEA felt that […]

  • News

    EPA proposes OK of Fairbanks air plan, but more steps needed

    by Associated Press on Jan 19, 14:04

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to accept a state of Alaska plan for cleaning up the air in Fairbanks. EPA region 10 air office director Tim Hamlin says the agency is recommending approval of the plan even as it works to reclassify pollution violations in Fairbanks as serious rather than moderate. Reclassification would […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Simply Three

    by Daybreak Staff on Jan 19, 12:55

    Simply Three is a classically trained trio bringing a modern sound to their stringed instruments. According to their biography on their website, they are known for their high-energy shows and covers of pop hits, but they also play the old masters like Gershwin. The band has an online following based on their creative music videos with […]

  • Lifestyle

    Nordic skiing for newbies: What you need to get started

    by Rachael Penton on Jan 19, 12:52

    Anchorage has received more than 30 inches of snow so far this winter, and with temperatures staying below freezing this year, the snow has stuck around. This means great conditions for nordic skiers — also known as cross-country skiers — both experts and novices. If you’re a newbie who wants to get out on Anchorage’s trails […]

  • Politics

    Anchorage municipal attorney rejects initiative to change equal rights ordinance

    by Daniella Rivera on Jan 19, 12:10

    The battle between religious freedom and LGBT rights in Anchorage is at a standstill, with one side trying to figure out their next move. Wednesday, the Anchorage Municipal Attorney’s office rejected a ballot initiative from a group that wants to make changes to the equal rights ordinance the Anchorage Assembly passed in 2015. The ordinance protects […]

  • News

    Bethel homeless shelter dealing with drunk residents

    by Associated Press on Jan 19, 9:23

    Operators of a homeless shelter in Bethel say they’re struggling to deal with intoxicated residents. KYUK-AM reported Wednesday that Bethel Winter House Director Eva Malvich says she may be forced to shut down the facility if problems continue. Malvich described an incident that took place earlier this month in which staff had to call police. She […]