Friday, August 9, 2013

Wildfire smoke forecast: 9 August 2013

Mostly "Good" air quality expected over the weekend, but...
 
Statewide air quality monitors have been showing Good air quality over the last several days. Though the Colockum Tarps Fire southeast of Wenatchee is the only major active wildfire at present (80,000+ acres, 75% contained) other smaller fires have been reported, mostly on the east slopes of the Cascades. Smoke impacts from these fires are likely to be limited to nearby areas.
 
A low pressure system approaching from the southeast is due to affect our state starting Friday evening into Sunday. A red flag warning for thunderstorms, lightning and possible new fire starts has been issued for areas both east and west of the Cascades. A flash flood watch has also been issued for the east slopes of the Cascades, as rainfall is predicted to increase as the weekend progresses. Areas near burn scars are particularly susceptible to flash floods.
 
While the strong winds accompanying this sort of weather generally helps disperse smoke quite well, it does not rule out smoke impacts close to the fires. There is a possibility that a little smoke from Idahoan wildfires could impact the far eastern parts of the state. By Sunday, models hint that a bit of smoke from wildfires in southwestern Oregon could get dragged over south-central WA.
 
Overall, expect air quality to remain "Good" in most areas through the weekend. A few "Moderate" areas cannot be ruled out.
 
For more information, please contact:
 
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Ranil Dhammapala, PhD.
Atmospheric Scientist
Washington State Department of Ecology
P.O Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Tel: 360-407-6807
Fax: 360-407-7534
Email: ranil.dhammapala@ecy.wa.gov
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