Air Quality Program

Volcano Information

Anchorage is surrounded by a number of volcanoes that could erupt. Depending on prevailing winds, ash could be carried into Anchorage. In the past 20 years, Anchorage has experienced ash fall from eruptions of Mt. St. Augustine, Mt. Redoubt and Mt. Spurr.

Current conditons on volcanic eruptions can be found at:

For information on ways to avoid or minimize contact with volcanic ash please see below.


Image courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory / Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys.

People exposed to airborne volcanic ash can experience various eye, nose and throat symptoms.   Although these symptoms can cause discomfort, short-term exposure to ash generally does not constitute a significant health hazard for most people.  Risk from exposure to ash is greatest for infants, children and those with asthma or chronic lung diseases such as emphysema.  Anyone in these risk groups should be particularly careful to avoid exposure. Contact your health provider if you are concerned about symptoms.

The Municipal Department of Health and Human Services advises everyone to avoid unnecessary exposure to ash and offers these suggestions:

These local companies have indicated that they have masks available:

  • Ace Hardware (Huffman)                334-7177
  • Alaska Industrial Hardware             276-7201
  • Alaska Safety                                 561-5661    
  • Andy's Ace Hardware (Muldoon)   333-6648
  • Eagle Enterprises                            562-2331
  • Home Depot                                   563-9800
  •  Lowes (Old Seward)                     349-8889
  • Lowes (Tudor)                                563-0391
  • Safety, Inc.                                      272-3389
  •  True Value                                     248-9211
  • Youngs Fire House                         344-5312

Contact lens wearers are advised to switch to eye glasses to reduce eye irritation from ash exposure and wearing goggles can help to protect your eyes.  Wear long sleeved shirts and gloves.  Avoid bare skin contact with ash as much as possible.

The Municipal Department of Health and Human Services will be monitoring air quality throughout any existing episode.  Air quality updates can be obtained by calling 343-4899.

Mt. Redoubt 

East Flank of Redoubt Volcano. Photo by Game McGimsey, Alaska Volcano Observatory / Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys.