Air conditions in Anchorage downgraded to "unhealthy for sensitive groups" on Sunday

EPA table for fine particle pollution at specific AQI ranges
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The air in Anchorage was declared “unhealthy for sensitive groups” by the Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday.

The classification was bumped up for the 24-hour period when concentrations of fine particles exceeded EPA standards, thanks to wood smoke and pollution from cold-starting vehicles.

Now, the department is saying that weather reports from the National Weather Service could forecast poor air quality to continue this week.

“Clear skies, cold temperatures and low wind speeds will likely persist throughout the week, favoring accumulation of pollution,” department officials wrote in a statement on Monday.

The report noted that those who would be the most at risk by this include children, the elderly, and those with health conditions, especially those targeting the lungs or heart. If the classification is brought back this week, the Department of Health is recommending people sensitive to air pollution to stay inside.

Fine particles are measured at two sites within the Anchorage municipality. One is in northeast Anchorage near Airport Heights, and one is in Eagle River near the Old Glenn Highway.

The Anchorage Health Department says it will continue to report conditions while there remains a likelihood of potentially unhealthful air quality.

It says current air quality forecasts can be obtained by calling the air quality hotline at 343-4899 or online at www.anchorageair.info.