Issued by Ranil Dhammapala, Washington State Dept. of Ecology
The Mills Canyon fire has grown to over 18,000 acres now and there are reports of a few new fires in Chelan county. As of 1PM today, the new air quality monitor at Entiat is showing Unhealthy air. Air quality in Leavenworth and Wenatchee have been hovering between Moderate and Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. Due to the absence of south winds, Chelan has mostly been spared of smoke thus far. Some smoke drifted eastward over north-central Washington, but has mostly stayed aloft.
Overhead smoke might in fact trim a few degrees off blistering daytime temperatures in some areas over the next few days. Cities near the fires including Entiat, Wenatchee, Leavenworth and Chelan will continue to see periodic smoke impacts at ground level. Winds will be weak to moderate, mostly driven by local terrain. Smoke is unlikely to blow far into the Columbia basin but could push up against the Cascades through Sunday and may even cause some hazy conditions just west of the Cascade crest. However no significant smoke is expected in western Washington.
There is a chance of some dry lightning on Sunday night into Monday in the northern mountains of Washington. The heat wave is set to continue through Wednesday at least.
As an aside, some users might have noticed 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’s method of calculating the air quality category (i.e. “Good”, “Moderate”, Unhealthy” etc) is more protective of public health than the method used by EPA. Please contact me if you’d like further details.
Have a nice weekend!
Ranil Dhammapala, PhD.
Washington State Department of Ecology
P.O Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600