Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Smoke outlook through Monday 14 September

Good air quality persists in most of eastern Washington although areas close to fires have been seeing patches of Unhealthy air. Recent rains, followed by cooler and cloudy weather has allowed firefighters to make good progress.

Here is a map of the total rainfall received statewide over the last 2 weeks. Not all wildfires in eastern WA got a good dousing, but crucially, weather conditions have not been conducive for fire growth and allowed firefighters to make much progress.

Warmer and drier weather through this weekend may allow some of these fires to become more active, although extreme fire behavior is not expected. Smoke production is likely to increase a little. Light winds with strong nighttime inversions will allow accumulated smoke to linger on. Light east winds are expected through the Columbia Basin and could transport a little smoke from Idaho into parts of eastern Washington. By Saturday, there could be several areas in the Columbia Basin and the Lewis-Clark Valley with Moderate or USG air quality.

However the forecast is for increased and cooler west-northwest winds Saturday evening through Monday, so that should help return air quality to mostly Good. Looks like a bigger, potentially season-ending rain event is on the cards for next Tuesday.

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