Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Statewide Smoke Update

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) 

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting!

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  2. Thanks for this! It probably is way too early to be able to predict, but should Western Washington also expect additional smoke from Oregon and California, as winds bring us air from the south?

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    1. Yes we should expect smoke from the south, but it isn't clear how far north it will impact Western WA on Friday. Wind forecasts don't agree at this point. The extended forecast has continued flow in our direction, though, so it could be an ongoing issue through the weekend. The CA/OR smoke is massive and it has to go somewhere!

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  3. Thanks for the update. It is constantly shifting from Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups to Moderate, in my area, and I was wondering how healthy (or not) it may be for me to open up the windows for a few hours in the night, and/or in the morning, to let some cool air in. Windows have been closed since Monday morning, before the smoke arrived. �� No one in the house is part of a sensitive group.

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    1. Air quality could deteriorate at night so be very judicious when you do this. An air purifier and indoor fans would be a better bet.

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  4. What is the smoke forecast around Vantage this weekend.

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  5. What is the air quality at Hanford

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    1. Please see the map at the top of the blog for current air quality conditions. The Mesa and Kennewick monitors are sufficiently representative of conditions at Hanford during wildfire smoke events

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  6. Hello from a friend and former colleague! Thanks, Ranil, Farren and everyone who keeps this blog going. I appreciate being able to count on you for good information and timely responses to the questions people post here. Such a hugely valuable resource.

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  7. We live in grayland. Covered in cloud as of now. Air smells smoky. Our aq says we are moderate. Should we expect worse? Thank you for keeping us all in the loop.

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  8. I'm heading to packwood, Washington on friday, the 11th. What's the forecast for that area? Thank you for the updates.

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  9. Oof, woke up in columbua county WA thus morning, eyes on fire!! Live in a doublewide and cant breath at all. My entire family has respiratory disease, and we are all having issues today. Its bad here. Praying for the best for all of WA! Stay indoors anyway

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