Friday, August 6, 2021

Smoke in Western WA next week? Crystal ball says "ask again later"

While it seems clear that Western Washington should be smoke free for the next few days, the long-term forecast suggests we may see smoke by the middle of next week.  Weather models show a high pressure system passing over our area starting next Tuesday.  This may change wind patterns near the ground from westerly, which brings in clean ocean air, to northerly and easterly, which could bring in smoke from British Columbia and Eastern Washington.  The strongest northerly and easterly flow is predicted to occur on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

However, it is too far out to know for sure and model predictions are still changing dramatically.  Take a look at these two predictions for next Thursday.  The first was made at 5pm on Wednesday and the second at 5am Friday.  In those 36 hours, the model went from predicting strong westerly winds pushing over the Cascades to moderate easterly winds.


Weather and smoke models are more accurate when predicting 2 days or fewer in the future.  So we will post another update on Monday or Tuesday if smoke is still in the forecast.


  1. Thank you for this information!

  2. How come the fire/smoke map no longer displays? I am using Microsoft Edge as a browser running on the latest version of Windows 10.

    1. Hello Worrier. In our tests, the map does load OK in Edge. Can be slow depending on your internet connection speed, and you have to wait a while for the Forecast slider to work (after loading the monitoring data- for which you see a "spinner"- it has to load the forecast polygons in the background but doesnt have a spinner to indicate that). We are doing our best to work through bugs and slowdowns. Have you tried a different browser such as Chrome?


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