Rain in parts of north-central Washington over the weekend limited fire growth and aided firefighters, but those clouds also kept smoke from the fires near to the ground, leading to very unhealthy and even hazardous air quality readings in many places Monday morning.
|Aug. 2 smoke forecast|
Temperatures across much of eastern Washington are headed toward triple digits once again. That will raise the fire danger, but it should also return us to the pattern we’ve seen in recent weeks where smoke settles near the ground overnight, then mixes up into the atmosphere as the heat of the day kicks in.
That daytime dilution won’t be enough to put a permanent dent in the smoke, unfortunately. The Washington Department of Ecology issued an Air Quality Alert for all of Washington east of the Cascade crest through noon Thursday.
What happens at noon Thursday, you ask? A stronger weather system is on the way, bringing rain to many parts of the state and enough wind to really push out the smoke. That new system won’t fully arrive until Friday, but we’ll see the benefits beginning Thursday afternoon.
Don’t expect too much from this front, though. Although much of eastern Washington will see cleaner air by the weekend, areas near the big fires in Okanogan County will continue to experience localized smoke impacts anywhere from the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” to the “very unhealthy” range.
Local fire forecasts
Just a reminder that you’ll find regional and statewide forecasts here on the Washington Smoke Blog home page. Smoke forecasts for specific fires where Air Resource Advisors have been assigned are just a click away, under the “Local Smoke Outlooks” tab.