Haze from Canada wildfires coming to Southcentral Alaska this week

A picture of Anchorage Alaska's skyline.
Haze from Canada’s recent wildfires spread over Anchorage Monday afternoon. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Residents of Alaska’s largest city can expect a taste this week of the widespread Canadian wildfire smoke which has been plaguing the Lower 48, meteorologists say.

The haze is expected to show up in Anchorage starting Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The smoke is from numerous wildfires burning in Canada’s Yukon Territory, said weather service meteorologist Sam Shea. In Southcentral Alaska, westward winds will bring what Shea called “a light milkiness” to the sky, with the smoke dissipated by its hundreds of miles of travel.

“We’re not expecting a complete obscuration of the mountains, like we’ve seen back when we’ve had the Sockeye Fire or something like that, because the fires are so far away,” he said.

Much of Southeast Alaska saw a similar haze earlier this month from Canadian blazes that burned 22 million acres in a single day.

The weather service is monitoring the smoke’s arrival, with its most intense effects expected to the north.

“The worst of the smoke will actually be more towards Interior Alaska and north of the Alaska Range, like from Tok north,” Shea said.

According to Shea, the Southcentral haze should dissipate by Wednesday or Thursday.

“It all depends on how long it takes to get this (high-pressure) ridge pushed out of the way, which is looking like towards the end of the week,” he said.

Meanwhile, lightning sparked new wildfires Monday in the Interior, kick starting what’s been a historically calm wildfire season in Alaska due to cold, wet weather.

RELATED: Lightning strikes spark new wave of Interior Alaska wildfires

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at cklint@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Chris here.

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