Emergency officials in Alaska, the Yukon and British Columbia are bracing for the possible eruption of a volcano.

The plume of smoke coming from Mount Redoubt near Anchorage is growing daily. The volcano has been showing signs of activity since last fall, but the threat level became increased around January 25.

An observation flight to the volcano from on Jan. 30 showed an increase in steaming and increased runoff along the margins of the glacier.

Air Force crews in Washington State are on standby in case of a sudden eruption.

Scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory centre are currently monitoring activity at the volcano 24 hours a day using seismic, satellite and radar data, and say they will provide information as it becomes available.

Depending on the size of the smoke plume and direction of the wind, ash from an eruption would float into Canadian airspace, affecting air quality and flight schedules.

Based on historical patterns of eruptions, the centre believes an eruption similar to or smaller than one that happened in 1989 and 1990 could occur. During that eruption, ash clouds reached a height of 40,000 feet and caught a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight in its plume. The plane later landed safely at the Anchorage airport.

Mount Redoubt is the highest summit in the Chigmit Mountain range about 180 kilometres southwest of Anchorage, rising 2,700 metres above the surrounding valleys.

With files from The Canadian Press