January 18, 2019: Yesterday, Anchorage had Moderate air quality, with a daily index value of 61, due to wood smoke; and Eagle River had Good air quality with an index value of 48. We expect mostly Moderate air quality with index values as high as 75 this weekend in neighborhoods where wood burning is common. Non-residential and sparsely populated portions of the Municipality are expected to maintain Good air quality this weekend (Fri-Sun). Today's vent factor is 200/ 226 cubic meters per second (am/pm).
If you use a wood stove or fireplace, please burn only clean dry wood, with adequate combustion air to prevent smoldering. Burning combustible trash is forbidden by municipal ordinance because it produces toxic and noxious smoke. Please help us all be able to enjoy clean , healthy air. If you have an air concern, please call the Anchorage Health Department, Environmental Services program at 343-4200.
Remember the use of leaf blowers for dry sweeping is not allowed!
The most current air quality levels available can be accessed online through a link below for "short term air quality data for the Anchorage area". The link immediately below explains AQI values and their health effect significance.
The values given for AQI relate pollutant concentrations to health effects that may be experienced at those levels by means of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Air Quality Index. For further information about the index from EPA click here.
Get the most recent air quality data from stations in Anchorage and Eagle River by means of the Alaska AQI. Levels given use data from recent hours only at each monitoring site. They will differ from the EPA index reported and forecast above because of their short-term nature. The Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation maintains this information. Monitors within the Municipality include "Garden" - a site in the Airport Heights neighborhood in north Anchorage; "Laurel" - located on Tudor Road near the intersection with Lake Otis; "Parkgate" - a site on the Old Glenn Hwy. in the business district of Eagle River. Though monitors continuously collect data, reporting of information from sites via the internet may be periodically interrupted.
During periods of smoke intrusion, people with respiratory illness or heart disease, the elderly, children, and pregnant women are advised to avoid exposure to smoke. When in areas of smoke, avoid outdoor activities and physical exertion.
Link to Alaska DEC Wildfire Smoke Health Q&A
Using Visual Distance to Assess Smoke Levels
Air Quality and Outdoor Activity Guidance for Schools - from US EPA and CDC's School Flag Program Air Quality Program
The Air Quality Program is responsible for monitoring and reporting levels of air pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and fine particles, within the municipality of Anchorage. The Program also responds to local air quality complaints and is responsible for various air quality projects. To step through the information and services provided by this program, click on links on this and succeeding pages. For current air quality conditions, call the Air Quality Hotline at 343-4899.
Merrill Field Lead Monitoring Study
The Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has completed a one-year monitoring study of airborne lead levels at the Merrill Field Airport. Merrill Field was one of 15 airports selected by the EPA for lead monitoring. This monitoring will help determine whether airports serving large numbers of piston aircraft meet new, more stringent air quality standards for airborne lead set by the EPA in 2008. Click here to view the report or an overview of the study can be found on the Merrill Field Airborne Lead Monitoring Fact Sheet.
Anchorage Benzene Monitoring Studies
The Air Quality Program has completed a year-long study of indoor and outdoor benzene levels in Anchorage. Previous studies conducted in Anchorage suggested that levels of benzene in outdoor air and inside homes were higher than those in most of the U.S. An overview of the studies can be found on the Anchorage Benzene Monitoring Studies Fact Sheet.
The full studies can be found at:
Anchorage Outdoor Benzene Study Phase 1
Indoor Benzene Concentrations in Homes with Attached Garages.
Anchorage Air Monitoring Data and Trends report: The Air Quality Program publishes a comprehensive annual report summarizing air quality data and trends. To view the report, please click here. This report is also available in the Alaska Collection of the Loussac Library in Anchorage.
Wind blown dust in front of Pioneer Peak in Palmer. Anchorage can receive dust from the Matanuska Valley on windy days. Photo by Caren del Cioppa and used with permission.