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Anchorage, Alaska, shrouded by one of longest smoke events in history

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
July 02, 2019, 3:11:33 PM EDT


Following the first ever Dense Smoke Advisory for Anchorage, the Swan Lake Fire, responsible for the smoke, continues to burn south of the city over the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska.

The city is likely to face more smoke and may challenge record high temperatures this week.

Smoke from the blaze drifted over the Anchorage city area from Thursday to this past weekend.

The large fire has charred more than 70,000 acres on the Kenai Peninsula since being ignited by lightning on June 5.

The fire was 14 to 15 percent contained as of Tuesday morning, according to Inciweb.

Smoke photo June 30

A smoky scene was viewed by those looking toward Suicide Peaks in the Chugach Mountains from the McHugh Ridge on Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Twitter/@Souldotna)


The city's international airport registered its second longest duration of an observation of smoke with visibility at or below six miles since 1960, according to Climatologist Brian Brettschneider.

The record is 119 hours from 2004. The current stretch ended at 74 hours as of 3 p.m. local time Sunday.

The National Weather Service office in Anchorage issued the first ever Dense Smoke Advisory for the region on Saturday afternoon.

AK fire 7.1 am


Air quality was listed at good levels on Sunday night as the worst of the smoke had cleared.

That will not mean an end to smoke problems for Anchorage. Winds may not be strong enough to sweep all of the smoke away from Anchorage during early July.

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FAA smoke

Dense smoke is seen early in the morning around Seward, Alaska, on Monday July 1, 2019. (Photo/Federal Aviation Administration)


"Fluctuating winds can spread smoke back to Anchorage at times this week," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

Residents, especially those with respiratory issues, the elderly and children, should be prepared to take the necessary steps to protect against smoke inhalation.

Smoke precautions June 30


Any smoke can then get trapped near the surface as a strong area of high pressure is set to build back overhead late in the week. Air quality can worsen amid the stagnant conditions.

A weather pattern similar to what is expected later this week caused Anchorage to endure its hottest day in three years on Saturday as temperatures soared to 82 F.

The upcoming weather pattern is forecast to send temperatures soaring back to or above 80 F. Daily record highs will be challenged.

For much of Alaska, the warm weather pattern is likely to last into early next week.

Download the free AccuWeather app for the latest temperature trends in your community. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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