Have you noticed some of the smoke outlooks created specifically for areas around the Methow Valley, Colville Reservation, and SE Washington that are being posted to the Washington Smoke Blog? These forecasts are being created every day by Air Resource Advisors - also known as ARA's - assigned to the incident management teams in charge of managing wildfires in the area. ARA's are trained specialists who can be dispatched to an incident management team to assist with understanding and predicting smoke impacts on the public and fire personnel. ARA's have expertise in air quality science, air quality monitoring, smoke modeling, pollutant health thresholds, and communicating about smoke risks and methods of mitigation.
Air Resource Advisors:
- Use sophisticated smoke dispersion models to predict air quality conditions in smoke impacted communities,
- Install and operate air quality monitors in communities underrepresented by state monitors (notice the triangles on the monitoring map above - those extra monitors for Mazama and Oroville were installed by our ARA on the Methow area fires),
- Participate in public meetings and media events to help explain air quality conditions, relay information on potential health effects, and advise on strategies people can take to protect their health,
- Assist incident safety officers and others addressing incident personnel impacts from smoke.
If you attend a public meeting sponsored by one of the teams managing a fire with an ARA assigned to it, you'll get a chance to hear a little more about current and forecast air quality conditions in the area, and get any questions you may have answered. Many thanks to Tonya, John, and Katy for helping out as ARA's on fires here in Washington this year!