Washington Smoke Map

*The map above is not able to display all state air quality monitors. Click here to see all monitors in Washington: WA Ecology Air Monitors

Note: Some users might notice intermittent discrepancies in colors shown on the map of air quality monitors above, and those reported on the Department of Ecology's official page. This is because Ecology believes their method of calculating the air quality category (i.e. “Good”, “Moderate”, Unhealthy” etc) is more protective of public health in Washington. If in doubt as to which better represents public health risk, use the more stringent of the two (i.e. the map showing worse air quality).

Monday, August 3, 2015

Smoke forecast: August 3-5

Fire activity ramped up over the weekend, sending lots of smoke into eastern Washington. The Paradise Fire in the Olympic National Park sent some smoke into the south Sound on Sunday. Numerous smaller fires caused localized smoke impacts.

The good news is that winds are picking up across the state and eastern Washington will continue to see improving air quality through the rest of the day. Some hard-hit areas in the Columbia basin are now reporting good air quality. Winds are likely to remain moderate to strong in eastern Washington through Wednesday, so smoke is unlikely to build up. The caveats are that strong winds could boost fire activity (The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning through Tuesday night), and limit how high smoke plumes rise.

Air quality is expected to range between Good and Moderate in areas away from the fires. In general, better air during the daytime, slightly worse at night. Closer to the fires, air is likely to vary from Moderate to Unhealthy at times.

Air Quality Updates in Chelan Area

Check out Chelan County Emergency Management Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chelan-County-Emergency-Management/188543097925415

There is also a Twitter Feed for this fire #WolverineCreekFire  https://twitter.com/hashtag/WolverineCreekFire?src=hash

An air monitor has been set up in Chelan by the Emergency Management Team and they are posting updates in the comments section on Air Quality conditions with health messaging from the local health district.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

8/2/2015 Status of Smoke and Fires in Washington

Multiple active fires around the state are impacting air quality. The Wolverine Fire continues to smoke in areas around Lake Chelan including the Methow Valley and the Okanogan Valley. The smoke is spilling into the Columbia Basin and impacting air quality all along towards Moses Lake also where air quality has ranged between Unhealthy and Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups today. There are also air quality impacts around Spokane today. Much of the smoke is probably coming from the Wolverine fire also but there are other fires in the area that could be contributing. It's hard to tell for sure where the smoke plume in the eastern part of the state is coming from.

Paradise (not on map, in Olympic National Park):1786 acres, 21% contained
Deckerville: 150 acres, 0% contained.
Goode: 140 acres, 0% contained.
Wolverine: 15,700 acres, 0% contained.
North Boulder 2: 223 acres, 70% contained.
Baldy: 300 acres, 0% contained.
Eagle Springs: 2,000 acres, 0% contained.
Long Lake: 432 acres, 60% contained.
I-90 Sprague: 600 acres, 0 % contained.
Blue Creek: 6225 acres, 95% contained.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

8/1/2015 Wolverine Creek fire plume from space

One more picture of the big plume of smoke coming from the Wolverine Creek fire today.

8/1/2015 More smoke from Wolverine Fire

The Wolverine fire on Lake Chelan near Lucerne is causing smoke issues in the Lake Chelan area. A fire update is available from Inciweb at:  http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4354/

INCIDENT UPDATE 8/1/2015.  The Wolverine fire was very active overnight and into this morning, growing to approximately 4,000 acres. Late afternoon yesterday a spot fire was reported from the air ½ mile south of Lightning Creek along the lakeshore. The spot fire made significant runs up Lightning Creek and is now well established on Lightning Ridge. Helicopters engaged the fire with bucket drops in attempts to slow growth.

The fire also has a twitter hashtag: https://twitter.com/hashtag/WolverineCreekFire?src=hash

The smoke plume is quite visible from satellite.  Here's a still shot (below):

Webcams in the area show some pretty thick smoke around the Lake Chelan area but with no state monitors in the area, people are advised to use the table at the bottom of this post for a rough determination of air quality conditions.

See current conditions at these webcam links:

Since wildfires often occur in remote areas, air monitoring equipment may not be available. The following table provides a quick method to assess air quality in your area. For more detailed information you can go to the following site:http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/burning/wildfires/visibility.htm
Using the 5-3-1 Visibility Index
Distance you can see*
You are:

You have:
·  An adult
·  A teenager
·  An older child
·  Age 65 and over
·  Pregnant
·  A young child
·  Asthma
·  Respiratory illness
·  Lung or heart disease
5 miles
check visibility
minimize outdoor activity
3 miles
minimize outdoor activity
stay inside
1 miles
stay inside
stay inside
*No matter how far you can see, if you feel like you are having health effects from smoke exposure, take extra care to stay inside or get to an area with better air quality.  You should also see your doctor or other health professional as needed.

Friday, July 31, 2015

7/31/2015 Weekend forecast and Wolverine fire

Briefly, the WRF weather model-predicted afternoon soundings show little change through
5 pm Sunday with possibly some scattered mid-level clouds Sunday

By Monday some cooling and increased winds--still an adiabatic sounding up
through 700 hPa (about 10,000 feet) with scattered to broken mid-level clouds.

By Tuesday evening the skies will again be clear and then slight warming
through next weekend.

Throughout the period there will be good vertical mixing to:

1. Mix any smoke lofted by the heat of the fire down to the ground, and
2. Dilute that same smoke through a deep layer and decrease the ground level
concentration from what an undiluted plume would produce.

Also throughout the period there will be moderate winds on most afternoons to
also help dilute the smoke.

Unfortunately, the wind, vigorous vertical mixing, and warm to hot temperatures
with low relative humidities are also favorable for fire growth leading to
increased smoke production. The balance is expected to produce smoky skies
with limited visibilities in areas near the fire. Methow and Chelan valley
ground level concentrations could reach the Unhealthy for Sensitive Persons at

Fire crews are expected to begin doing some burning to keep the fire away from
Holden by early next week. That will likely produce a surge of smoke
but should limit the long term impact from this fire.

The good news is that the nearest precip stays up in central BC--good because I
don't want any chance of convection (lightning) until we can get a heavy dose
of moisture (precipitation) in here--where is a western Pacific typhoon or
eastern Pacific hurricane when you could use one?

Clint Bowman
Department of Ecology