Swan Lake Fire pushes Cooper Landing’s smoky air quality off the charts, literally

Cooper Landing is registering some of the worst air quality readings in the country this week, due to smoke from the Swan Lake fire.

An unofficial monitoring station at Kenai Lake showed the Air Quality Index on Wednesday approaching 800, literally off the charts because the index has a scale that tops out at 500.

Cooper Landing resident Cheryle James says she’s still trying to keep her store Wildman’s open for business. But James says the smoke, the charred landscape and sporadic highway closures have caused visitors to cancel trips, and fishing guides and other businesses in Cooper Landing are starting to suffer.

James, who owns Wildman’s with her husband Jerry, spoke to Alaska Public Media’s Casey Grove.