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).

Friday, August 26, 2016

Eastern Washington: fire weather and blowing dust concerns on Saturday (see below for Western WA)

Other than a few places with Moderate air, conditions are mostly Good in eastern Washington now. A strong, dry cold front is projected to blow through the state on Saturday, causing quite a few concerns as illustrated by the following three graphics produced by the National Weather Service in Spokane.

While all this is unfolding, stronger winds will limit plume rise in existing fires, resulting in some smoke north of I-90 on Saturday. Chelan, Wenatchee and the Spokane area could see Moderate air quality from nearby fires but most other areas should remain Good unless new fires foul up the air.

Saturday's front ushers in a pattern shift toward cooler weather over the next few days, with little risk of strong winds and thunderstorms. This bodes well for firefighting efforts and should keep smoke reasonably well dispersed.

Smoke in the South Sound today, expect smoke in the Seattle area on Saturday

Folks in Thurston county and to a lesser extent Lewis and Pierce counties woke up to smoke hanging in the air. This is due to a fire burning on JBLM. Air quality in Lacey reached Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups while other monitors recorded Moderate air.

This situation will abate in the next few hours, when the ground warms up (a heat advisory is in effect today) and mixes smoke through a deeper layer.

Offshore winds are weakening and will switch to westerly this evening. While this will ensure no more smoke from JBLM fires reaches Thurston and Lewis Counties, it also drags in some smoke from the Olympic National Park fires into the South Sound overnight. Moderate air quality is expected.

Some JBLM smoke might make its way to the Tacoma/ Puyallup area tonight and on Saturday. If the fire is still going strong, there could be times when air will be Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.

On Saturday the winds will be from the southwest, returning Thurston and Lewis county air quality to Good. But this will also place  areas immediately north of Seattle downwind of the Olympic NP fires. Patchy smoke can be expected during the day on Saturday, leading to Moderate air quality on occasion, like this:

Stronger winds on Saturday night and Sunday will help return AQ to mostly Good across western Washington.

Will make a separate post about smoke in eastern Washington

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Spokane Reservation residents: protect your health from wildfire smoke

 EPA Advises Spokane Indian Reservation and Area Residents to Protect Your Health from Wildfire Smoke

Wildfire smoke can cause eye and throat irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Children, pregnant women, elders and those with heart or lung disease such as asthma are more at risk. Even healthy adults can be affected by smoke.

If you smell or see wildfire smoke:
o Minimize or stop outdoor activities, especially exercise.
o Stay indoors with windows and doors closed.
o Don’t run fans that bring smoky outdoor air inside your home, including swamp coolers, air conditioners, whole-house fans or fresh air ventilation systems.
o Change the standard central air-conditioner filter to a medium or high efficiency filter. If you have a wall or window air conditioner, set it to re-circulate. If you have an indoor room air filter set it up in the room where most family members spend time.

If you don’t have air conditioning, protect yourself and your family from heat exhaustion:
o Use cold compresses and cool showers or baths to stay cool.
o Drink plenty of fluids, unless your doctor has told you to limit the amount of fluid you drink. Don’t wait until you are thirsty. Avoid alcohol or sugary drinks.
o Consider moving to a location with air conditioning or leaving the area.
o Do not exercise or do physical activity and wear light-weight and light-colored clothing.
o Watch for signs of heat exhaustion: fatigue, nausea, headache and vomiting.

If you or a family member is affected by smoke, and symptoms worsen or become severe, seek medical attention and consider going to an emergency shelter or leaving the area until smoke conditions improve.

Suzanne Skadowski
Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 10 Pacific Northwest | Seattle
Desk: 206-553-2160  Cell: 206-900-3309