Poor air quality has persisted for many Washington residents today as fires continue to produce significant smoke across the region. The EPA Fire and Smoke Map (shown below) paints a stark picture of air quality and smoke in the region, with smoke impacts being felt over most of the state. Air quality is Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups across most of the state, with Unhealthy or worse conditions in parts of Central Washington. See the Dept. of Ecology Smoke Forecast Map for predictions of air quality in your specific region for today and tomorrow. See the Health Information section of this blog for tips on masks and how to keep the air in your home clean.
Air Quality, Smoke, and Fires from EPA - Sept 9, 2020 (10 am PDT)
Fire perimeters expanded and threatened several communities yesterday. The Cold Springs (Central WA), Pearl Hill (Central WA), Lionshead (OR) and Beachie Creek (OR) fires experienced large growth. Multiple fire fighting teams were assigned to new incidents. The Big Hollow fire in Skamania county also exhibited extreme fire behavior. The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center has more detailed information on large fire activity.
Critical fire weather conditions will persist in Western Washington today and tomorrow. The breezy east winds have eased some but it will be hot and dry. Fires will remain active and could grow rapidly. Expect winds to transition to a more typical onshore flow on Friday which will help to slow the fire activity down. Smoke is impacting the region from multiple locations. Air quality is expected to continue as-is and get worse Thursday night into Friday, especially in Southwest Washington and the Olympic Peninsula, as smoke from Oregon and California is expected to creep north. See the widespread thick smoke over the Pacific in today's GOES Imagery (shown below).
Central and Eastern Washington will experience warm/dry weather with less winds today and tomorrow. Smoke from fires will continue to heavily impact the Okanogan and Methow Valleys, the East Slopes of the Cascades, and portions of Ferry county. Patchy smoke will also be prevalent around the Columbia Basin and the Spokane area. Air quality will remain poor as light winds will allow smoke to build near the ongoing fires. However, light winds will be beneficial for fire fighting efforts and we hope there could be reduced fire growth in the region.
GOES Image for Sept 9, 2020 (10 am PDT)