Wildfires: Smoke gets in your eyes across Alaska


A change in wind direction blew the smoke from several wildfires fires over the Alaska Range into Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, and Kenai.

Also, a lightning storm on June 6 started numerous fires in Southwest Alaska. Most of the fires are fairly small, but there are 50 wildfires burning and several are over 20,000 acres in a wide area from Lake Minchumina, to Mountain Village, to Dillingham. An interagency effort is underway to protect structures, mines, Native land allotments, and other values threatened by some of these large fires.

A change in wind direction bringing moisture and cooler air off of Bristol Bay may help to moderate some of the fire behavior in the coming days, but the vegetation is very dry and the fires continue to burn actively, the Alaska Wildland Fire Information website says. The southwest flow of air is also carrying the smoke from these fires.

Only three fires in the southwest are currently staffed, but aerial resources from Canada and the Lower 48 are in Alaska assisting and the first load of L48 fire crews arrived Sunday.

Sleetmute: The Aghaluk Mountain Fire (94,953 acres) is 10 miles southwest of Sleetmute along the Kuskokwim River. Firefighters from the DOF and the BLM Alaska Fire Service are on the ground in Sleetmute preparing to protect that community should the fire advance that fire in the coming days.

Medfra: he Submarine Creek Fire (17,920 acres) is 6 miles northwest of Medfra. On June 6th the fire burned through the Nixon Fork Mine, damaging the facility and mining infrastructure. Firefighters are working with the locals have secured the remaining infrastructure and are working to preparing to defend the Medfra community should the fire advance to the southeast.

St. Mary’s: The Alaska Type 2 Green Team is managing the East Fork Fire (121,831 acres) near St Mary’s, pictured above, and the Alaska Type 2 Black Team is being mobilized to help managing many of the fires between the Kuskokwim River and Dillingham.

DEC has issued air quality advisories for Southcentral and other regions, such as central, eastern, southwest, and western interior Alaska, for very unhealthy air quality through Tuesday afternoon.

The US National Weather Service Anchorage Alaska has been posting webcam images showing the smoke patterns as the winds push the towards Southcentral. Air quality has worsened Sunday evening.


  1. This is good info, none of it is on the mainstream Alaska news sites. I saw the cascade of smog come over the chugash range this afternoon and my first though was that the smog looked exactly like the wildfire that smothered Fairbanks last summer.

  2. While I am concerned for the residents of Southwestern Alaska and the potential threats they face from these wildfires, I was more than glad to have all the haze from them on Sunday helping to attenuate the glaring sun, and heat, that I’ve more than enough of already this season.

  3. Another potential reference to track these fires … ‘http://smoke.alaska.edu/current_fires.html

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