Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wildfire Smoke Forecast

Washington State Department of Ecology

3:45 pm PDT Thursday, 22 August 2013


Fire facts from the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center

Manastash Ridge WA-OWF-000619. ICT3 (McPhee) 24 mi W of Ellensburg, WA. Start 8/20/2013. Full Suppression. Timber. Cause lightning. 425 acres (+225). 0% containment. Steep terrain, difficult access. Private property remains threatened. Moderate fire behavior. Area and trail closures are in effect. Previously reported as Manastash.

Government Flats Complex OR-954S-000022. Unified Command. IMT2 ODF (Thorpe/Cline) and OSFM (Ingrao). 10 mi SW of The Dalles, OR. Start 8/16/2013. Full Suppression. Timber. Cause lightning. 9,600 (+2,875)ac. 15% containment. FEMA declaration on 8/17 at 1200. Active fire behavior. Values at risk include residences, power lines, The Dalles Water Treatment Center and Evans Reservoir. Level 2 evacuations and road closures are in effect. Includes 3 fires: Blackburn 9,305 (+2,875)ac 16%, Government Flats 229ac (+0)ac 100%, Wells 66 (+0)ac 100%.

Eagle WA-OWF-000616. IMT2 (Rabe). 5 mi NE of Leavenworth, WA. Start 8/19/2013. Full Suppression. Grass and timber. Cause under investigation. 790 acres (+490). 10% containment. Active fire behavior. Level 2 and 3 evacuations are in effect. Values at risk include structures, power lines, commercial timber, and T&E species. State Fire Mobilization authorized 8/20.

Conrad Lake WA-OWF-000530. IMT2 (Allbee). 35 mi SW of Naches-S Fork Tieton, WA. Start 8/9/2013. Full Suppression. Timber. Cause lightning. 980 acres (+0). 22% containment. Minimal fire activity. Values at risk include structures, natural and cultural resources. Tentative transition to local unit 8/23.

            For updated "Significant Fire" details, visit InciWeb or the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center (NWCC) at


            AIR QUALITY:

Most communities in Washington have Good air quality.  Several communities along the eastern edge of Washington from Spokane south to Clarkston have Moderate air quality.  Some areas in Yakima county also have Moderate air quality.  The area of biggest concern is the Wenatchee-Leavenworth area where smoke from the Eagle fire has produced Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups air quality.

Statewide air quality index readings are available at



Wildfire smoke dispersion depends on the stability of the atmosphere and wind speed.  A stable atmosphere reduces the height that a plume will reach and will tend to trap smoke near the ground.  Unstable atmospheres, created by either sunlight warming the ground or moderate wind speeds, rapidly disperse smoke.


The low, currently over northwestern California, will track northeasterly to cross the Central Washington Cascades Friday morning.  In the process, it will open up and lose much of its strength, producing only light amounts of precipitation.  The Haines Index, values greater than four indicate strong convection and possible lightning, drops below three Thursday evening and remains there through the weekend.  The Leavenworth area should see some light precipitation early Friday morning and temperatures should be as much as ten degrees cooler.  Friday morning southwest winds should begin moving smoke northeastward across the Columbia Basin and push away any that intruded from wildfires in Idaho.

Winds along the Columbia are predicted to be westerly and should keep smoke from the Government Flats Complex away from Southern Washington.


An upper level trough will move in closer to the state from off the coast over the weekend and early next week bringing cooler temperatures and more clouds. Sufficient precipitation is forecasted on Friday and again on Tuesday to reduce the likelihood of additional fire starts from lightning.

That precipitation should also reduce the amount of smoke.  Most areas of the state should return to Good air quality.  Leavenworth may continue to have Moderate air quality because of smoke from the nearby Eagle fire.

            Updated Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA) chart

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