FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Cold weather inversions brought frequent air quality alerts to the Fairbanks North Star Borough over the last couple weeks. After local elections in October, the Department of Environmental Conservation took control of air quality monitoring and enforcement, and is the agency currently forecasting and issuing air quality alerts, calling stage curtailments during poor air quality, and issuing waivers for those who do not have another source of heat. The Borough continues a voluntary wood stove change out program, along with education and outreach.
Alice Edwards, Director of the Air Quality Division of the Alaska DEC, said that they started with issuing informational letters to residents who are burning during the curtailment periods, to remind them of the transition, the rules, and possible waivers they can receive. "We certainly appreciate all of the local efforts that are happening to try and improve air pollution, but as we can see from the last couple weeks, it's a challenge, it's an ongoing effort, and it takes action on the part of individuals to help improve the situation," said Edwards.
For more information on air quality curtailment and alerts, and how to apply for a NOASH waiver, go to dec.alaska.gov/air.