Visible haze from Lower 48 wildfires makes it to Ketchikan, but air quality in the region is still good

Smoky haze covered Ketchikan on Wednesday. The National Weather Service said it’s not anticipated to pose a health hazard. (Eric Stone/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Residents in Ketchikan woke up to hazy skies Wednesday morning.

National Weather Service Forecaster Bryan Caffrey says that haze is smoke from wildfires burning on the west coast of the Lower 48.

“There’s been a low off of Washington that’s been spinning, that’s what’s helped pull it up north into British Columbia, and finally just got in this morning to Dixon Entrance and the southern panhandle,” said Caffrey.

Wildfire smoke has shattered records for poor air quality in Oregon, Washington and California.
But here in Alaska, Caffrey says the smoke is forecast to remain suspended in the atmosphere over the southern panhandle Wednesday. That means it’s not anticipated to be a health hazard.

Preliminary data from a Juneau air quality monitor run by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation places the area’s air quality in the “good” category. That means “little to no risk” to human health. Satellite-modeled data from company IQAir says the same for southern Southeast.

Caffrey says the smoke likely won’t get as far north as the central panhandle.

“We do have a front approaching tomorrow night. Not looking to bring any precip[itation] to the southern panhandle until maybe Friday, but that’ll help push everything back down south and east,” he said.

Smoke from the record wildfire season in California and the Pacific Northwest has been visible all over the northern half of the Lower 48.

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