Wildfires send worst air of the summer across Fairbanks

Published Friday, July 31, 2009

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For more information on the fires, visit http://fire.ak.blm.gov

Due to the variability in different areas around the Fairbanks and North Pole areas, the borough is advising folks to use the “Judging Particulate Levels in Your Area” chart, and follow the advice for local smoke visibility. Adobe Reader is required to view the chart. For more information about air quality levels, visit the Fairbanks North Star Borough's air quality Web site. Or call the air quality division, 459-1312, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Fran Corcoran, right, who suffers from asthma, wears a mask to help protect herself from the smoke that has enveloped Fairbanks as she strolls across the Cushman Street Bridge with her husband Joe Corcoran, back right, and friends Fran and Enzo LaVecchia, left, Thursday, July 30, 2009. The two couples are vacationing from New Jersey and just arrived in Alaska the previous night. They weren't letting the smoke hinder their spirits, however, as they were looking forward to a train trip to Denali National Park the following day.

FAIRBANKS — A little smoke didn’t bother golfers in the Alaska International Senior Games in Fairbanks on Thursday.

While soccer, football, baseball and softball games and practices were canceled because of the thick, acrid smoke that blew into Fairbanks on Thursday, the senior golfers sucked it up and played through the worst of it.

Call it dedication, tenacity or just plain stupidity, said Pat DeRuyter, one of the 15 golfers who teed off at 9 a.m. for an 18-hole round.

“It’s either that or we’re so old we don’t care anyway,” she quipped. “We weren’t going fast enough to breathe hard.”

The smoke made things interesting, DeRuyter said.

“It was pretty bad,” she said of the playing conditions at Fairbanks Golf Course. “We had trouble seeing some of the shots, actually.”

Even so, a smoky game of golf beats no golf.

“We’re dedicated,” said the 57-year-old DeRuyter, who chose to walk all 18 holes she played.

Thursday was the smokiest day of what is turning out to be a smoky summer in Alaska’s second-largest city.

A wind shift early Thursday morning blew smoke from fires burning south of Fairbanks into town, covering the city in a fog-like haze for most of the day.

The worst of it came just before noon when the particulate level was measured at 313 micrograms per cubic meter, the highest reading of the season according to borough air quality technician Jim McCormick. The previous high reading was 291 on July 14. That figure also was because of wildfire smoke. Good quality particulate levels are between zero and 40 micrograms per cubic meter.

The Alaska Goldpanners, Fairbanks Youth Football, Fairbanks Youth Soccer Association and Golden Heart Softball Association all canceled their games Thursday because of poor air quality, which was rated as “very unhealthy.” That category is the second-lowest of six divisions.

The smoke began to thin slightly later in the day, but it is expected to hang around through the weekend, said meteorologist Kelly Songster at the National Weather Service office in Fairbanks.

Another warm, dry day Thursday fanned the Wood River 1 and Railbelt Complex fires, the same blazes that have been responsible for the smoky conditions all month in Fairbanks.

The Wood River 1 Fire, 25 miles south of Fairbanks, had burned approximately 83,000 acres, while the Railbelt Complex fire, about 50 miles southwest of town, had consumed an estimated 341,000 acres.

While cooler temperatures are expected today, winds are expected to pick up over the Alaska Range tonight when a chinook blows in, which could fuel the Wood River 1 Fire, Songster said. In addition, the humidity is expected to drop.

“Winds are going to be howling out of the southwest by tomorrow afternoon, with gusts in the Alaska Range up to 45 mph where the Wood River fire is,” she said. “That could really fan those flames.”

The wind likely will blow smoke back into Fairbanks, Songster said.

The smoke didn’t help the almost 250 firefighters battling the Railbelt Complex fires, said fire information officer Gary Lehnhausen with the Alaska Fire Service.

The poor visibility prevented helicopters and air tankers from flying on Thursday, he said.

“It keeps the CL215s on the ground, which are helpful to us calming down the perimeter of the fire so firefighters can get in there and do direct fire line suppression,” Lehnhausen said, referring to the two air tankers being used to drop water on the fire.

The smoke also delayed a demonstration water drop by the world’s large firefighting aircraft on the Railbelt Complex fire.

Evergreen International Aviation, an Oregon-based company, was planning to drop more than 20,000 gallons of water on the Railbelt Complex fires Thursday using a 747 Supertanker as part of a sales pitch to Alaska forestry officials to use the jet. The company is trying to convince Alaska forestry officials to rent the $50 million jet, a converted Boeing 747-100, for firefighting purposes in Alaska.

The company is hoping to do the water drop today, said Jim Baynes, Evergreen’s Supertanker sales manager.

The Wood River 1 Fire, meanwhile, made a push to the east on Wednesday, but most of the fire is moving to the north and northeast, away from cabins along the Wood River.

Smoke jumpers were pulled off the fire Wednesday night after completing several burnouts around cabins, and the structures are being aerially montiored at least twice a day, fire information officer Diane Hunt said.

Firefighters were planning to burn areas around the Blair Lakes Air Force facility and another military site on Clear Creek Butte to protect them.

“There hasn’t been any decision to do anything else than to make sure structures in the area are protected,” Hunt said. “The majority of the fire is moving north and northeast, and there are some old burns in the surrounding areas that are helping slow the fire down because there’s less vegetation to burn.”

Firefighters also have a new fire to contend with north of Fairbanks near Circle.

The Bluff Creek Fire six miles west of Circle tripled in size on Thursday, going from 5,000 acres to roughly 15,000, and a Type 2 management team was ordered for that fire, according to fire information officer Maggie Rogers at the Alaska Fire Service. She wasn’t sure if the team would come from Alaska or the Lower 48.

Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.

Community Discussion

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  1. The_Alaska_Curmudgeon
    7/31/2009, 12:11 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    I sure wish this smoke would clear so we could get back to Sarah Palin.

  2. Tempus_Fugit
    7/31/2009, 12:21 a.m.
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    Come on, really?

  3. akang
    7/31/2009, 12:32 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    No kidding. It's been like 24 hours since the DNM mentioned her in any story...WTF? Get with it, people! B-O-R-I-N-G news about forest fires, the economy, clunker cars programs that are already done... let's get back to the important stuff!

  4. dobieman
    7/31/2009, 12:45 a.m.
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    TAC....you don't think this is all Sarah's fault? Tsk...first she goes zooming all around the state on her last week in office, at our expense...and all these fires start. And then we find that budgetary restrictions are hampering some of the firefighting efforts...and who makes the budget requests?
    And, lastly, it's obvious she did all this to make Parnell look bad so people will look back on her aborted tenure and say, "This didn't happen when Sarah was in the guv's office!"
    Shame, shame that you didn't realize this.
    (BTW, I also have proof she is responsible for Amelia Earhart's disappearance but I'm saving that documentation for later. As for Jimmy Hoffa....well, let's just say there is one person in Alaska who knows where he is buried....and she ain't sayin'. Ahem.)

    There. That is my community service performed for the week. Now, back to the smoke....

  5. truthinnews
    7/31/2009, 12:47 a.m.
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    C'mon, you don't miss the Palin stories, just all the comments on them.

  6. dobieman
    7/31/2009, 12:52 a.m.
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    Sigh...the things I do for you folks....

  7. nosunlight
    7/31/2009, 1:10 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    I just miss Levi and his grand adventures.

  8. James Brooks (News-Miner staff)
    7/31/2009, 1:44 a.m.
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    Be careful driving out there tonight; visibility's down around 500 feet in places.

  9. truthinnews
    7/31/2009, 1:45 a.m.
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    If you notice, the old Palin stories are still racking up comments. Some people just can't let it go. I'm going to miss AkReport, SarahAmerica, InSarahWeTrusted, etc.

  10. corinne
    7/31/2009, 1:59 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    The smoke doesn't bother me at all--and I don't have the greatest respiratory system.
    I think it smells kinda good.
    And beats hell out of cold, grey rain.

  11. siamiam
    7/31/2009, 2:14 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    im still riding with he top down in my roadster :)

  12. fairbankssteve
    7/31/2009, 2:27 a.m.
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    A LITTLE smoke?

    Please let us know when there is a LOT of smoke.

    BTW, would love to know when the feds are going to be fined for allowing particulates to encase Fairbanks from 100+ miles away. Any good news? Possibly,no more IM fees 9 (you know those nasty vehicle really leave a haze, unlike annual summer smoke), but maybe Fairbanks will be fined for allowing smoke to engulf the area.

  13. AKHockeyFan
    7/31/2009, 2:40 a.m.
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    corinne, i agree, i have asthma and have had no problem due to the smoke...and i love the smell...although i do wish for a day or so of rain just to cool the humidity

  14. fairbankssteve
    7/31/2009, 2:56 a.m.
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    i do wish for a day or so of rain just to cool the humidity

    Rain? You've got it. The fair is almost here.

  15. realarmywife
    7/31/2009, 2:59 a.m.
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    Ok, while I am not having as hard a time as others, I still cough and have developed a sore throat. It is listed as unhealthy levels saying children and elderly shouldn't go outdoors at all! That is a little something to be worried about. Next and final level....hazardous. Sorry, but I think it is weird to say you like the smell. Go light a sandlewood candle! I worry for my kids health!

  16. Power_Of_The_O
    7/31/2009, 3:02 a.m.
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    Dermot - PLEASE give us the latest from William Shatner on his Palin commentary or anything else from your late night comedy viewping that is critical of our former Governer. Who cares about this somke stuff. DNM needs to focus on what it is best at....being the National Enquirer of the North.

  17. AKHockeyFan
    7/31/2009, 3:03 a.m.
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    realarmywife, am i saying im gonna go outside and sniff the smell all day? or take your kids or any other kid and have them run around it? nope...it smells like a campfire to me and i enjoy that smell, not saying im gonna sit and bask in the smell though. and if its hazardous then yes, kids and elderly and such should avoid being outside. i dont like the smoke but there is nothing I can do about it being here except hoping for a change in wind and maybe some rain.

  18. 1AkFox
    7/31/2009, 3:18 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    "Smoke gets your Eyes" is the Fairbanks political light opera opening theme song.

    From the burro's web page:[1]

    Visibility:3/4 mile or less

    Category: Hazardous

    Action: Everyone should avoid any out door exertion, people with respiratory or heat disease, the elderly and children should remain indoors

    1hr particulate levels: over 500

    24 hour particulate levels over 250


    They don't give a listing for 500' or less.

    I assume - the number of particles doubles every time the distance is cut in half:

    Then 500' would equal 8,000 ug/m^3

    and 250' would equal 16,000 ug/m^3.

    When I was out and about yesterday, in places it was 500' or less.

    Based on the doubling the particle readings the figure should be 8,000 or more NOT the "313" reported in the story!

    The burro has 6 monitors located in the best places to produce the highest readings to justify their baning wood stoves in the winter.

    What are those 6 monitors reading and where are they located?

    Also, wood smoke in the winter from wood stoves is never ever been this bad!

    -- In joyed the propaganda picture 1 person with a mask!
    Out of several hundred I saw about town yesterday, including 2 bicycles pumping to get the hills ONLY one person had a mask: the kid at Wall Mart collecting shopping carts.

    I bet the golfers did not have any masks.

    Looks to me very few people take any action or think it is necessary to avoid exposure.

    At -50 who is outdoors -- the sick -- the elderly -- the children are all indoors, ANYWAY!.

    ---------ref [1] "Judging Particulate Levels In Your Area"


  19. 1AkFox
    7/31/2009, 3:28 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    Looks like the smoke out will continue.

    Weather Forecast text format.
    as of "1105 PM AKDT THU JUL 30 2009"

    AKZ222 - Middle Tanana Valley

    1105 PM AKDT THU JUL 30 2009







    1118 PM AKDT THU JUL 30 2009



    FAIRBANKS 59 73 49 64 / 0 0 0 0

    1106 PM AKDT THU JUL 30 2009




  20. realarmywife
    7/31/2009, 4:10 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    1AkFox...notice that the statements/description on each level dont match up? Both are from the borough. Hummmmm.....which one is right???


    AkHockeyfan.....I wouldn't expect anyone to run around in this stuff. It just sucks that I can even smell it really strongly in my house with everything closed up. What else can you do? My concerns are mostly to blame on the above link.....yea, it has scared the heck outta me, especially with no rain in site!

  21. realarmywife
    7/31/2009, 4:10 a.m.
    Suggest removal


  22. ktsue
    7/31/2009, 4:33 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    I wound up in the emergency room today. My throat is raw, my chest is raw and I can't breathe well, and and there is just no escaping it..I am on antibiotics, inhalers, and anti-inflammatory medication, but none of those are doing me any good because the smoke is so bad here at Jillian Square that it looks like I had a cigar-tasting party in my apartment. I know I am whining, but this is just awful. Can someone tell me: does this happen EVERY summer? Is there any end in sight? I thought the 50 below temps were bad this past winter, seemingly going on and on, but I could at least bundle up and protect myself...this is crazy, there is no escape from it. And please, no kind and loving remarks like "don't like it, leave" because my job is here and I am going to have to stay for the foreseeable future. How long does this usually last, and what can I do to keep from losing more work? Any advice?

  23. ArcticWriter
    7/31/2009, 5:31 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    DNM: Emergency level smoke, and the lead is
    a fluff story
    about stupid duffers not clever enough to
    not golf in this mess?????

    ktsue: This is not the weather norm.
    Here are my suggestions, which work
    for me, also asthmatic and heart condition as well,
    to create a clear air zone in your home bedroom:

    1. Buy a machine that removes the particulates from
    the air. Home Depot or some such place should have them
    (if there are any left). Run that in the bedroom
    with the door and windows and drapes closed for
    a few hours.
    You can use blankets over the windows as an additional
    precaution if necessary.

    2. Next, get a HUGE humidifier and run that.
    It will moisten the air and remove any new
    particulate matter.

    3. Concurrently run a fan, on low, which will keep the air moving.

    This system has worked for me, allowed me
    to sleep without an attack, and kept me
    out of the ER.

    Also: You can buy an industrial strength face mask
    which seals around your face and removes the particulate
    matter when you are outside your cleared zone.
    Makes you look like a giant bug, but it really works.

    Be safe and remain calm.

  24. dobieman
    7/31/2009, 5:38 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    ktsue....sorry about what you are experiencing. I can only imagine how trying it must be. However, while this is something that is a bit unusual in its inensity it is not all that unusual in its happening. Usually each summer there will be a period when we have some forest fires and sometimes we get the smoke in town. It depends on where the fires are, what the weather conditions are, how intense the fires are, etc. Quite a few variable factors that some years mean just a whiff and other years what we are undergoing now.
    Trying to predict what each summer will be like in this regard is nigh well impossible. They may be able to give a general idea of what the weather will be like (for instance, I recall the prediction for this summer was it would be hot and dry and it has been) but the fire situation can be somewhat independent of that. Lightning strikes, available fuel, human causal factors....very, very unpredictable.
    This is pretty much one of the worst episodes I've seen in many years up here but that doesn't mean next year couldn't be even worse...or totally without smoke.
    Wish I could give you more to hang your hat on but like I say...so many variables make for a very unpredictable phenomenon.

  25. tombo
    7/31/2009, 6:01 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    When they stop the burning of woodstoves in Fairbanks air quality will be so much better, I think, maybe, well part of the time anyway?

  26. TundraTrekker
    7/31/2009, 6:20 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    When you drill, baby, drill,; burn, baby, burn coal or wood, you contribute to dramatic low and high flows on the Mighty Yukon and other rivers that bring drought, more forest fires and more flooding. There are consequences to our actions.

  27. MrsSaenz
    7/31/2009, 6:45 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    The smoke gave me one heck of a headache! I closed all the windows and started running the airpurifiers. If you must be outside for any length of time tie a wet bandana around your face. You'll look like a cowboy, but it really works. Just keep it moist.


  28. mmmwpch
    7/31/2009, 7:27 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    My mom is up visiting from the Lower 48 and she asked me when the smoke was going to clear. I told her "probably when the snow starts flying." I can't wait for -40s and snow again. I love the cold, hate the heat.

  29. Shokd
    7/31/2009, 7:34 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    Once again, I wish the wood burning crowd would knock it off! I mean, this is attributed to wood stoves, right?
    This summer is a boon to the public servants picking and choosing their data to support their new "buy our new stoves, or face a huge fine" move.
    The Wood Way must be salivating waiting for this rule to get passed.

  30. wife228
    7/31/2009, 7:36 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    It would be nice if I could breathe.

  31. FrankSinatra
    7/31/2009, 7:51 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    mmmwpch, I hate the cold, love the heat. Keep your -40, I'll take +90 and daylight anytime.

  32. fairbankshockeypuck
    7/31/2009, 8:05 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    not too picky, but is fairbanks still alaska's second largest city. i though wasilla passed us by????

  33. Consumer
    7/31/2009, 8:22 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    hey frank, you can get temps like that back in vegas.

    now can everyone please go back to discussing sarah? i miss her so! when is she coming back? what is she doing? how could she leave us hanging like this? doesnt she know we need her for fodder?

    oh, beautiful SARAH... you are like a drug. and whether we like you or NOT, we are all hooked. jones'in ~ please ~ NEED!

    just one more hit...

  34. TRIPPY1
    7/31/2009, 8:33 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    ktsue, since the late 70s its been either smoke or rain

  35. flat_lander
    7/31/2009, 8:46 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    smoke sucks eat cookies !

  36. fairbankssteve
    7/31/2009, 8:57 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    This smoke is nothing compared to 5 years ago around July 4th. I couldn't see the house across the street and it seemed like half the city fled to Anchorage for several days. I'm sure everyone that lived here then will remember that.

  37. Power_Of_The_O
    7/31/2009, 9:09 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    fairbankshockeypuck - after Rohn Emanual gets done with the census data, Juneau will be the No. 2 city. More democrats there.

  38. someguyinfbx
    7/31/2009, 9:23 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    The smoke sucks for sure ktsue, just try and keep some moisture moving around your place. If nothing else put on a pot of water and boil it along with putting a fan on to keep the air circulating.... thats the cheapest crudest way to do it, if the retailers are out of stock on humidifiers. Fairbanks is technically an arctic desert and probably has some of the most extreme weather swings in the U.S. It is not an easy place to live (not sure how long you've been here), if the smoke continues to get to you more than you can handle you could use this time as an oppurtunity to go visit some family and friends on the outside if you have the luxury to get away from work and all. Most employers I hope would understand that these conditions present problems that can effect a persons long term health(walking to the car is like smoking a pack of cigs) and thus their insurance, and lost time due to health days in the future could multiply exponentially.

  39. doris
    7/31/2009, 9:31 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    It looks like the air has cleared a bit today. The sky is much bluer and the smoke smell as subsided a bit. I hope it continues to get better. The brown sky is really depressing. For one thing, it reminds me too much of Los Angeles. lol

    I saw three kids on bicycles yesterday with particle masks on, headed to the library. Good job, kids. This stuff can't be good for us, and I sure wish I could escape it too.

    ArcticWriter - Thanks for that great advice and for taking ktsue's needs seriously. It was refreshing to see a reasonable, caring response to someone's suffering.

    dobieman - Your first post was really funny. Thanks for not taking yourself too seriously. :-)

    I hope that big airplane helps get the fires out. Kudos to all the fire fighters working on all the fires. Stay safe, and good luck on getting them extinguished.

  40. FrankSinatra
    7/31/2009, 9:36 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    Back in the day, me and Sammy and Deano only dated dames that were SMOKIN' hot...

  41. outtatowner
    7/31/2009, 9:53 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    Can someone tell me the (official) last time we had recorded precipitation? I can't find it on weather.gov...

  42. outtatowner
    7/31/2009, 9:55 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    May have found it on weather.com...June 23rd - 0.92 in. Sound right?

  43. The_Alaska_Curmudgeon
    7/31/2009, 10:04 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    dobieman: You must have missed my post the other day. They found Jimmy Hoffa a couple of years ago when they washed the newly dead Tammy Faye Bakker's face while preparing her body for embalming.

    Quite the life really. Labor leader; Mob flunky; teary, mascara-eyed televangelist's wife; and then a closing act as gay icon. Who would ever have predicted it?

    And gawd, that boy...er, girl...er, whatever, sure could sing.

  44. lagirl
    7/31/2009, 10:13 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    fairbankssteve--I remember that. I was pregnant and had my girl on July 5th. We fled down to the Klutina for the weekend and I almost didn't make it back to have the baby in town. This is nothing compared to that. Also, there was no rain for the fair! First yr I can remember that happening since I lived here. It is like being in the -40 for weeks, nothing you can do but wait it out.

  45. dobieman
    7/31/2009, 10:17 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    TAC....but...but wasn't Tammy Faye secretly married to Bozo the Clown? (Gads, can you imagine their kids???)

  46. 1AkFox
    7/31/2009, 10:46 a.m.
    Suggest removal


    Good suggestion about the humidifier as an air cleaner!!!!

    Those have the air blowing through a rotating wet screen which should take out close to every thing!!!

    Also, bath towel behind a box fan sent on low held in place by tape. Try a very light spray coating of "Pam" spray cooking oil. The oil helps catch the smoke, dust, pet dander, mite poo etc.

    Home Deport may still have some of those "1700" rated filters.

    Arctic Tech in the RR area has carbon filter material for home filters. 24" wide by xxxxxx length.

    Watch out for the HEPA filter devices with replacement filters at 80 bucks each.

    Sears has some that are washable!

    Those full face masks with the filters on the side are very nice and work super good.

    Price 100(?) bucks at Arctic Fire and Safety back behind 6 Roblies just past the S. Cushman under pass going
    south. They also have less expensive masks that work!

    Fire map pdf or jpg

    Satellite weather movie (looks like clouds and wind from the South East) at 10:50 am


  47. flat_lander
    7/31/2009, 10:59 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    I hate smoke, Our state leaders / BLM / Department of Interior somebody needs to try and put this out !
    I know we've had smoked filled Summers before but you got to admit this is getting old.
    my neighbor has a wood boiler from hell ! so the winters are smoke-filled for me and now the summers to plus the horrible economy and lack of work, this is the kind of sh*t that makes people want to climb a clock tower and start " I think you get what I'm saying" bullsh*t

  48. dobieman
    7/31/2009, 11:10 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    Finally, a nice, clearing zephyr. (I hope this doesn't portend high winds near the fires, though.)
    Momentary reprise?

  49. robir8
    7/31/2009, 11:16 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    Went to Fox at 9:00 smoke. Came back at 11:15 no smoke.

  50. doris
    7/31/2009, 11:29 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    flat_lander - Take some slow deep breaths through a clean, wet washcloth, and step away from the clock tower. :-) I'm sorry you have the wood-boiler from hell next door. If we legalize Hemp-The Wonder Weed! we could have clean-burning fuel in several forms, like oil, ethanol, coal, and pellets. It's time to fight for our right to create clean energy. We don't HAVE to be stuck with unhealthy kinds.

  51. glow
    7/31/2009, 11:32 a.m.
    Suggest removal

    ktsue--good luck with the smoke. Listen to 1AkFox in particular, as his ideas about smoke management are always good. Stay inside as much as you can! Use Mrs. Saenz's idea of a wet bandana (not blue or red ;) to get to the car and back into the house or into your work site. If your workplace is smokey, ask the boss to let you set up 1AkFox's homemade air filter and humidifier. Can you telecommute? If you can, set yourself up at the UAF library or the public library as both of these places filter the air. You can get several hours of good breathing time in. If you can't do either of these, tell your boss that you can't come in to work. Take sick days, unpaid leave, whatever you need to take care of yourself.

    Good for you for going to the ER--the stuff you were given might take a couple of days to work. The smoke is no joke! If your symptoms become distressing again, do not hesitate to go back to the ER. Finally, ArcticWriter had some good advice. Try to relax--I know it's hard to be calm when you can't breathe, but trust that the smoke will only be here a few more days and then it will be gone. The Tanana Valley Fair will be here soon, and it nearly ALWAYS rains then. :)

    Hang in there. Lots of us are suffering--you are not alone. Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.

  52. realarmywife
    7/31/2009, 12:19 p.m.
    Suggest removal

    It it wayyyyy better out today. It was pretty bad late last night!

  53. 1AkFox
    7/31/2009, 12:34 p.m.
    Suggest removal

    Re.. the filters.

    For an experiment, I bought some "Head Liner" from Jo Ann's fabrics. The stuff is used in autos. It is foam on a fabric. About 1/4 thick and is $9 bucks a yard. It can be hand washed in the bath tub.
    $30 of it will do to of the box fans with some left over. Comes in colors, too! (woman stuff)

    I used 4 pieces of clear plastic packing tape to hold it to my guinea pig box fan. Works fine.

    Lots of air flow! Much more than the "1700" forced air furnace filter.

    It would make a nice re usable pre filter for other filters.

    Also if your stove range hood vents inside turn it on! The grease filter will take out the smoke!

    If you have forced air heat, turn the fan on. There should be a switch on the unit some place.

    DO NOT TURN THE BATH ROOM VENT-or a stove range hood that vents outside ON! They will suck smoke into your house and blow cleaner air out!

    If the el cheap o stuff does not work, then think about going up.

    When shopping: "cute" plastic cabinets and gizmo controls are a waste of money.

    It is the filter system that does the work.

    "Thunder is impressive, but it is lighting that does the work."

    If you are into do it yourself you can make one that is close to top of the line using the blower from a dumpster cloths dryer and some of those $20 "1700" 3M filters from Home depot.

    Although a bath towel filter with a very very light dose of Pam cooking oil spray is washable and I bet works just a good.

  54. 1AkFox
    7/31/2009, 12:58 p.m.
    Suggest removal

    1:pm.. Nice north east wind blowing.. Still some smoke!

    Fire map show some big fires NE of us... and hereeeeeeeeee we go?

  55. lagirl
    7/31/2009, 1:17 p.m.
    Suggest removal

    It's baaack!

  56. realarmywife
    7/31/2009, 1:50 p.m.
    Suggest removal

    1AkFox...nice tips! I learned the hard about about the vents. I have been keeping my bathroom doors closed at all times and it has helped with that smell in the house. But as soon as you go into the bathroom, it hits you!!
    I was explaining all this to my hubby in Iraq.....he made a point and I might try it...he said to turn the showers on cold and let them run a little while. (doesn't help with water conservation, lol)...But hey, it might work. Of course, none of these thing are gonna work if people leave their windows open!

  57. Arcticmyst
    7/31/2009, 3:02 p.m.
    Suggest removal

    NLE 09 exercises might have a contribution to the smoke???? Not sure what the NLE 09 FEMA schedule is and for what regions. What next evacuation? Drills to keep us on our toes? Who know's what's up? Fine us for wood stoves?!!! Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black. Fine them for not putting fires out ...big fat fine! Maybe they will purchase the largest fire fighting jet in the world and we can all pay $$$$ for the big bad boy! Our little bit of summer we have to enjoy what a bunch of @!#$%#!

  58. out_in_the_cold
    7/31/2009, 3:02 p.m.
    Suggest removal

    Could be worse...could be out on the fire line with the firefighters.

    Anyone hear if the 747 BIG BIRD bomber made a run on the Minto South Fire Complex, yet?

    Getting hard to tell which is worse...waiting for the 'Ice Classic' and getting washed away..or..the 'Fire Classic' and getting smoked out of town. cough, cough

  59. ktsue
    7/31/2009, 4:17 p.m.
    Suggest removal

    I was finally able to lay down and get some sleep and I woke up and came back to this blog and was SOOOO touched. Thank you for the outpouring of compassion and suggestions! I was, I think, doing everything wrong...I was closing all the windows (and burning up in the process), turning on the bathroom and oven vents, and wondering why I was feeling worse instead of better. I do have a humidifier in my bedroom, but my lightning-fast brain took awhile to remind me to check the filter...YUK!!! They crud up quickly, huh, you guys??? I am going to run to the store tonight and try to pick up another humidifier, with nice clean filters, and a mask or two, and run the shower on cold for a few minutes, and drink lots of liquids, and tough it out. And, as simplistic as I am sure it sounds to you "old-time" Alaskans, I have learned a cardinal lesson or two. One: invest in an air-conditioner and BEG Jillian Square to put it in the window for me. That way, next summer, I can just close up the apartment, run the AC and humidifiers, and do a lot better. And, this fall, I am getting a remote-start for my Jeep. I moved here a year and a half ago, and hated to spend the 600 dollars, but I refuse to spend one more winter in the bitterly cold 40 to 60 below weather, running out to start my Jeep, then back into the hospital across that HUGE parking lot, then running back out only to find the Jeep still cold, so BACK inside....BRRRRRRR. Can anyone advise me on this: are there any places that offer cheaper remote-starts for Jeeps? The two places I phoned quoted me at least 600 bucks, and I would like to spend less if I could. Also, from what I hear, no apartment complexes in Fairbanks offer AC...will complexes let renters purchase their own, and install them? And finally, am I forgetting anything? Thanks again.

  60. someguyinfbx
    7/31/2009, 4:36 p.m.
    Suggest removal

    Floor standing self evaporating air conditioner just vent it out your window and no buckets or pans to dump. They come with the vent kits at HD or Lowes

  61. 1AkFox
    7/31/2009, 5:57 p.m.
    Suggest removal

    Weather Radar shows a rain cloud on the highway about 1/2 way between us Delta Junction.

    This is about 20 min behind time.
    But gives you an idea.


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