Siberia wildfire smoke reaches Southcentral Alaska, islands

July 7, 2020 GMT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Smoke from wildfires in Siberia have carried to Southcentral Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, the National Weather Service said.

Strong winds pushed the smoky air into the region beginning last week from fires burning across more than 5,300 square miles (13,727 square kilometers) of the northern Russian region, The Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.

The wildfire smoke also has been reported in western Oregon and Canada.


Patrick Doll of the National Weather Service said cloud cover began shifting into Alaska Sunday, which may cause difficulty in determining whether the air over parts of the state has been touched by the smoke or is simply cloudy.

Siberia experienced heavy wildfires last year and some of the new fires reignited from hot spots that did not fully extinguish. Siberia also is experiencing record-breaking temperatures this year, reaching 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) for the first time, NASA said.

Smoke drifting to Alaska from other parts of the world is not unusual. Smoke from Siberian wildfires last year reached the state but mixed into hazy skies from Alaska’s own wildfires at the time, Doll said.

The length of time the smoke remains over Alaska depends on firefighting efforts in Siberia and cannot be accurately determined, Doll said.