Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Current conditions and smoke dispersion forecast for Wednesday 10/10/2012

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

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- Unhealthy

For statewide monitoring information, please check
Another very useful webpage for hourly and 24 hour data is

Trout Lake is recording Unhealthy air this morning, and there is more orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) in Western WA than in eastern WA: Wenatchee, Ellensburg, Cashmere, Entiat and Clarkston in eastern WA, as opposed to 7 sites west of the Cascades. Data from the Maple Falls site (currently Very Unhealthy) are suspect. Remaining sites both east and west of the Cascades are about evenly split between Good and Moderate air quality. Light to moderate winds throughout much of eastern WA last afternoon helped reduce the fine particle levels. In Western WA, winds weakened during the day and night and allowed woodsmoke to accumulate in several areas.

Calm conditions are expected in most of the state today, although areas near the Cascade gaps and the Okanogan river valley might see moderate winds, before they die down overnight. This will help with smoke dispersion, but will also push some smoke into the Basin. There will be areas of eastern WA where dispersion remains less-than-optimal through Friday evening, so expect air quality to be a mixture of Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. Areas closest to wildfires are likely to see air that is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups or Unhealthy.

Changes occur on Friday evening onward, when winds pick up as a warm front approaches. Eastern WA may not get much precipitation with this system, but it will certainly assist dispersion. Several other weather systems are also likely over the weekend, and this is good news for smoke impacted communities. It is fair to expect improving air quality as the weekend progresses. The exact location(s) and timing of precipitation however is uncertain at this point.

Unless there are significant changes to the forecast, another update will be issued on Friday morning.

The National Weather Service issued an Air Quality Alert for Douglas, Chelan and Kittitas Counties through noon Friday:

The burn ban has been extended to cover all Washington Counties, and runs through 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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