Air quality zone map

FAIRBANKS—Fairbanks is under its first Stage 2 air alert for the city's Air Quality Control Zone.

All burning of solid fuels, including wood and coal, must stop under a Stage 2 air alert under Fairbanks North Star Borough code.

The North Pole area is also under a Stage 2 air alert, but the area has had about a dozen of them so far this winter.

The burn bans are in effect through Monday at 4 p.m. but could expire sooner if conditions change.

Air Quality Director Glenn Miller said atmospheric conditions are monitored daily, including the weekends.

The borough’s Air Quality Control Zone boundaries run north from the Tanana River to the ridge above Farmers Loop Road. To the west, it stops south of Chena Ridge Road. To the east, it stretches from Fairbanks to Badger Road to North Pole and beyond.

The only residents allowed to keep burning during a Stage 2 air alert are those with a NOASH waiver, meaning No Other Adequate Source of Heat. Those waivers are issued in cases of economic hardship or if halting burning will cause property damage.

While this is Fairbanks' first Stage 2 air alert, the city has experienced multiple Stage 1 air alerts under which residents with an approved wood stove and a Stage 1 waiver can keep burning.

Burn bans are on the rise this winter with stricter new policies in place aimed at reducing levels of PM2.5, a particulate that is linked with illnesses of the heart and lungs.

PM2.5 levels rise when there is a temperature inversion in which a layer of warm air sits on top of a layer of cold air, keeping the smoke pollution stuck at ground level.

Miller said a town hall meeting has been scheduled for the evening of Feb. 28 at the Noel Wien Public Library to update residents on borough air quality and enforcement efforts.

Borough Mayor Karl Kassel hosted a town hall meeting on air quality in North Pole on Tuesday and attendance was high.

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7587. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.