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).

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Western Washingtonians can breathe again. For now

YESSS! Most of western Washington is in the Green for the first time in days. A light on-shore wind brought dramatic improvements to our air on Friday evening. A few areas north of Seattle are still not all the way down to Good air, though they're headed in the right direction. For now.

Sadly most of eastern Washington had the very opposite experience: some communities even reached Hazardous levels as stronger north winds blew even more smoke down from Canada. The Methow valley also got hit by smoke from the Diamond Creek fire simultaneously.

Here's how air quality levels changed at a representative smattering of sites across the state. Darker colors = poorer air. Says it all.

Forecast: somewhat uncertain and I'm leaning toward cautious optimism for western WA. First few frames the visible satellite images this morning show the smoke monster looming overhead, ready to blanket western WA with a thin layer of smoke smoke again. Models are not mixing a lot of this smoke to the surface, meaning folks in the lowlands might continue to see pretty sunsets and have maximum temperatures slightly cooler than forecast, without having to breathe the smoke. But there are reasons to be a little less optimistic, especially north of Seattle where a fire near Darrington and another south of Bellingham are adding smoke to the airshed. Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups is a safe bet, with Good to Moderate for the South Sound and southwest WA. Winds will die down causing smoke to linger between now and Monday.

Eastern WA: wish I had better news but the best most communities could hope for is around Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups over the next few days. Many communities have Very Unhealthy air right now and the health precautions cannot be over-stressed. Minimize outdoor exposure, run car and home air conditioners in recirculate mode, wear N95 masks if needed, stay hydrated and consult your physician for personalized health advice.


  1. Thank you for this valuable resource! Was made aware of this site by NOAA as they posted the link on the air quality alert page. Information has been helpful to our family to decide about travel/recreation for this week. Best part is that this site includes multiple state and area information in one place. Keep up the great work.

  2. This is an excellent site—I've book looking for good, up to date info about the smoke coverage (as opposed to looking at the NASA photo and trying to project where the smoke will go). Thank you for creating this and updating it.

  3. How do you tell if you need a mask?

  4. Is there a difference between circulate and recirculate on home central air systems? I can't find any info about recirculating for my AC.

    1. They may be the same however, you may want to check with a home heating specialist or the manufacturer of your unit. Sorry for the delay on responding.

  5. Thanks for the forecast! Hope you're right about the smoke not mixing back down to the surface here in Seattle.


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