Friday, October 12, 2012

Air quality and smoke forecast on Friday 10/12/2012 at 8AM PDT

Central Washington Air Quality Report from US Forest Service Temporary Monitors

Cashmere- Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Cle Elum- Good
Entiat- Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Pateros -Good
Quincy - Good
Trout Lake- Hazardous

For statewide monitoring information, please see

Smoke dispersion forecast

Light rain has already begun falling in western WA this morning and winds are slowly picking up. Not much rain resulting from this front in eastern WA, but winds will pick up and help with smoke dispersion, starting  this afternoon. The uptick in winds will precede any precipitation, so it is likely that there will be areas of windblown dust around the Columbia Basin today. Some patchy, light rain is possible in eastern WA on Saturday with more rain Sunday through Monday. We can expect a trend toward improving air quality from today through Monday, just about everywhere in Washington State. Models suggest that the Lewis-Clark valley might be the last to clear out, as winds may not immediately penetrate down into the valley.

Though rains wont entirely extinguish wildfires in eastern WA or central ID, the threat of persistent smoke will abate for the next several days.

While firefighters are close to containing some of the large wildfires, bear in mind that containment does not imply the absence of smoke. Wildfires can continue to produce low-buoyancy smoldering plumes for weeks. These can easily remain trapped close to the ground and impact nearby communities. Wildfires in central Idaho have been pouring smoke into area valleys for weeks. Easterly winds - though not expected in the immediate future - could transport this smoke into the Palouse and Lewis-Clark valley, as they did yesterday.

This is the last planned wildfire smoke forecast for now. However we are closely monitoring conditions associated with smoke dispersion, be it from wildfires, agricultural/ outdoor burning, or woodstove use. If any significant air quality impacts are expected, they will be addressed through the usual channels and mechanisms.

Questions? Please contact:

Ranil Dhammapala
Washington State Department of Ecology
Tel: 360-407-6807


The National Weather Service's Air Quality Alert for Douglas, Chelan and Kittitas Counties expires at noon today:

The Governor's burn has covering all Washington Counties expires at midnight Monday October 15th. The Governor's proclamation ( allows for local fire departments to issue written permits that approve specific burning activities.  Please work with your local fire jurisdiction and your Ecology burn team staff to get the needed written authorization for specific agricultural burns. In some areas, air quality concerns or local fire danger may preclude burning during this extraordinary wildfire event.


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