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DEC Issues Air Quality Advisory for Sterling, Soldotna, Kenai, and Nikiski

  • For immediate release — June 15, 2019
  • Contact: Mark Smith, Division of Air Quality, 907-269-7676

Location(s) Impacted

Southcentral is experiencing degraded air quality due to wildfire smoke from the Swan Lake fire located on the Kenai Peninsula.

Time/Date of Update

Saturday June 15, 2019 10 a.m.

Valid Time

Saturday June 15, 2019 10 a.m. to Monday June 17, 2019 4 p.m., advisory will be issued until end of the event.

Time/Date of the Next Report

Monday June 17, 2019 4 p.m.

Advisory

Smoke from the Swan Lake fire on the Kenai Peninsula is trapped below the low level clouds and is impacting the air quality for Southcentral Alaska.  Expect smoke from the wildfire to spread throughout of northwest area of the Kenai Peninsula, specifically impacting air quality in the communities of Sterling, Soldotna, Kenai, and Nikiski.  Air Quality will vary between good and unhealthy depending on wind flow and proximity to the fires. See the table below for more guidance on the Air Quality Categories and Cautionary Statements.

Be aware that areas immediately downwind of any fire will experience HAZARDOUS levels of smoke. Generally, worse conditions occur overnight and during the early morning hours, as the atmosphere cools and brings smoke to the surface. During the day, surface heating will mix smoke and carry it upwards, temporarily improving air quality.

Smoke and Public Impact

This is an area forecast, and as such is a general forecast for portions of Southwestern Interior Alaska.  Smoke intensity will vary depending on precise location and local wind flow patterns.  Smoke concentrations will be such that they could impact public health at times.  It is advised that travelers check local weather as smoke conditions may vary considerably from one locality to the next. The most recent weather observations may be found on National Weather Service’s homepage.

In smoke impacted areas, DEC advises people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should avoid prolonged exertion; everyone else should limit prolonged exertion.

The following table contains the cautionary statements for the Air Quality for Particle Pollution.

Air Quality Category Cautionary Statements
Good None
Moderate Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups People with heart or lung disease, the elderly and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.
Unhealthy People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should avoid prolonged exertion; everyone else should limit prolonged exertion
Very Unhealthy People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should avoid any outdoor activity; everyone else should avoid prolonged exertion
Hazardous Everyone should avoid any outdoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should remain indoors

When air quality data is unavailable, the following Air Quality Smoke Reference Guide may be used to estimate air quality levels and potential health impacts:

Visibility Air Quality
10+ miles Good
6 - 9 miles Moderate
3 - 5 miles Unhealthy for sensitive groups
1.5 - 2.5 miles Unhealthy
0.9 - 1.4 miles Very Unhealthy
0.8 miles or less Hazardous

For more information

For information on this advisory, contact Mark Smith with the Division of Air Quality at 907-269-7676.

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