Smoke from the Swan Lake fire continues to drift into Anchorage. On Thursday the city's air quality level was mostly moderate, but municipal health nurse Meghan McFarland said that doesn't mean people shouldn't take precautions.

McFarland said most people don't have to eliminate their outdoor activities but they may want to limit their time outdoors when the smoke is thick. She said the risk is greatest to people with respiratory problems and also young children whose lungs are still developing.

"Listen to your body," McFarland said. "If you're starting to feel dehydrated, if your eyes are starting to burn, if you feel like you are having trouble breathing then you want to go inside. Go into an area where there is clean and more purified air."

People who are indoors should do their best to keep the smoke out, according to McFarland.

"Try to limit the amount of pollution that you have coming indoors so close your windows," she said. "Try not to drive with your windows down and kind of keep the air that you have on the inside clean and pollution free."

McFarland said people who have respiratory problems should keep medications close in case the smoke causes a flare-up. She said people who choose to wear masks should buy a higher grade model with a respirator because the standard dust masks aren't effective against smoke and fine ash.

The Swan Lake fire started from a lightning strike earlier this month. So far, more than 48,000 acres have burned. An air quality advisory is in effect until Friday. 

 

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