Monday, September 25, 2023
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Recent rainfall and cooler temperatures limit smoke production on active wildfires
The other major smoke producer in Washington over the past month has been the Airplane Lake Fire, which has consistently funneled smoke into the Leavenworth/Wenatchee Valley. This fire also saw rain yesterday, though less than the Olympics. It is possible that with warmer weather on Thursday and Friday the Airplane Lake Fire may perk up a bit, but winds will be out of the east, providing the aforementioned areas with relief from the smoke. Some elevated smoke will likely be transported toward the Puget Sound, but I do not expect enough burning activity to produce any impacts above occasional MODERATE readings.
Friday, September 15, 2023
The majority of the state continues to experience good air quality and low fire danger. A very clear satellite image from this morning--only the smoke plumes from the Airplane Lake Fire and agricultural burning in SE WA are visible, as well as smoke in Oregon):
The Airplane Lake Fire continues to cause intermittent smoke impacts around the Lake Wenatchee area and into the Wenatchee Valley, impacting the communities of Leavenworth, Cashmere, and Wenatchee. These intermittent smoke impacts will continue until the next significant precipitation event. There is potential for light smoke impacts today in East Snohomish County, but winds from the west this weekend will push any smoke east of the Cascades.
Across the rest of the state, fires in the Cowlitz Complex comprise almost 700 acres and are partially contained. Smoke from these fires is not expected to impact nearby communities. The Sourdough Fire continues to intermittently impact areas close to the fire in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. There are also a few fires currently burning in the Olympics that were ignited two weeks ago by lightning strikes. Smoke from these fires (including the Eagle Point and Low Divide Fires) may intermittently impact Port Angeles and higher-elevation areas around Port Angeles.
Weekend outlook: warm and dry conditions are forecasted for the weekend, but we're not expecting any significant new fire activity. Increased smoke from any local fires and prescribed burning may cause localized moderate air quality levels. Forecasted high winds across Central and Eastern Washington along with the dry conditions can lead to rapid fire spread; please continue to recreate responsibly.
Taking a look back at our air quality this wildfire season, below is a plot of observed daily air quality levels for each day in each county in the state where there is an air quality monitor. Each row corresponds to the daily average at the most impacted monitor observed in each county on a given day. The major events we saw this wildfire season are highlighted--smoke from the Alberta fires in May, smoke from the Cascades and Southern BC fires in August as well as local fires in Spokane, and smoke from fireworks on the 4th of July.
Friday, September 8, 2023
Despite good air quality in most of the state, the Airplane Lake fire still has active hot-spots and is producing smoke that's been impacting residents around Lake Wenatchee. Intermittent moderate smoke is also affecting the nearby communities of Entiat and Cashmere. The Airplane Lake fire has only grown 200 acres over the past few days, but the fire is uncontained and will continue to produce smoke until the next wetting rains occur, which are not expected anytime soon.
A wind shift is expected tonight, and moderate smoke from the Airplane Lake fire is expected to impact mountain towns in Snohomish County (such as Darrington) over the weekend. That shouldn't last long though, as westerly winds are expected to pick back up on Sunday afternoon.
The Sourdough fire near the Ross Lake National Recreation Area is partly contained and has not grown much at all, prompting officials to reopen some trails and camps in the area. Smoke from the fire has been minimal and intermittent, with no large hot-spots detected recently.
Other fires of note in Washington are in the Cowlitz Complex, with 700 acres burned across several fires. Despite partial containment, there is still moderate fire behavior at the Snagtooth, Spencer Quartz, and Grassy Mountain fires. No significant smoke has been detected in the area so far, but sensors are sparse in the region.
Fire danger remains too low for much risk of new significant fires in the coming days. The majority of our wildfire season has passed, and we don't expect any big flare-ups. Since air quality and fire weather are not a concern, agricultural burning in the Columbia Basin and Idaho has begun. Residents near agricultural communities from Yakima to Whitman county will likely see intermittent moderate smoke from agricultural burning through the month.
Thursday, August 31, 2023
Smoke from the Camp Creek Fire is funneling into the Vancouver area this morning. Air quality monitors in Vancouver observed elevated concentrations of PM2.5 starting around 3am. Air quality should improve today with the rain, but the pattern may repeat itself tomorrow morning. The Southwest Clean Air Agency has issued an Air Pollution Advisory for Clark County today through tomorrow afternoon due to intermittent unhealthy smoke impacts.
As for the upcoming weekend, recent rain has moderated smoke production from local fires, and more rain is coming thanks to a new frontal system. Colder temperatures and more moisture bode well for decreasing fire potential from any new lightning starts. Check out the forecasted total precipitation for the region through Sunday evening:
Forecasted winds from the north Friday and into Saturday will transport Canadian smoke down into Okanogan Valley. The area may observe intermittent moderate air quality. Smoke from the Airplane Lake Fire is also causing moderate to unhealthy air quality in the Lake Wenatchee area, which may continue through the weekend before more rain arrives on Sunday. Other than that, minimal smoke impacts are expected throughout the state this weekend. For areas close to fires, check out the smoke outlooks tab for updates. Enjoy the (mostly) good air quality!
Thursday, August 24, 2023
Satellite imagery shows the remnant wildfire smoke haze dispersing this morning, but some fires are still producing visible smoke plumes. We also expect easterly winds over the next few days and a Red Flag Warning is in effect for the West Cascade slopes of Lewis, Pierce, and King county due to dry and windy conditions. With the expected wind shift, a moderate amount of BC smoke is expected to drift down into the Puget Sound region this weekend. No Air Quality Alerts are planned at this time, but Moderate to USG smoke will likely impact northern counties for a couple days.
Residents in Okanogan have been living with intermittent smoke from nearby BC fires for quite some time, and that will continue. The fires in British Columbia continue to dwarf what is going on in our state. However, a low pressure system is expected to cause rain showers across the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday, and this should help limit temperatures and smoke production across the region. BC officials also report that there has been good progress on containing fires and some evacuees are being allowed to return home.
The Airplane Lake fire (2,300 acres) in the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area of Chelan County has been pushing smoke into the Wenatchee region. However, winds are shifting and Snohomish County communities like Darrington and Gold Bar will probably smell smoke over the next couple days. There are trail closures in the area around the fire.
The Sourdough fire (6,000 acres) in Whatcom County near Ross Lake is partially contained and firefighters report that opening SR-20 to thru traffic was a success. However, sensors around the Diablo Lake region are showing intermittent smoky conditions and trail closures are still in effect.
The Oregon fire in Spokane County is partially contained and firefighters continue to make great progress. Very little smoke is being generated at this time.
See the Health Information Tab on this blog for more information about how you can protect yourself from wildfire smoke. See the Local Smoke Outlooks for detailed forecasts in your area. Check WatchDuty for frequently updated information on local fires.
The Lookout Fire in Oregon is pushing smoke high into the atmosphere and being transported to the north, contributing to the haze over the region. Fire crews have progressed with firing operations designed to strengthen control lines, and fire growth has been considerable, contributing to the large smoke production.
Monday, August 21, 2023
Statewide smoke update: clearing in Western WA today, smoke impacts in Central and Eastern WA continue this week
Over the weekend, nearly every part of the state experienced smoke impacts, with many air quality monitors observing unhealthy or worse conditions. Sunday's satellite image shows the swath of smoke across the state:
|20 Aug 2023 19:01Z - NOAA/NESDIS/STAR GOES-West|
Easterly winds plus smoke from both local and Canadian fires led to the poor air quality we observed over the weekend. Two fires in the Spokane area (Gray Fire and Oregon Road Fire) led to hazardous air quality in Spokane.
We're already seeing improvements in western Washington with the arrival of westerly onshore winds. The smoke will likely linger through today but skies should be clear by tomorrow morning. Air Quality Alerts are in place through midnight tonight for the following counties: Island, King, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Whatcom. An Air Quality Alert is in effect until 5pm today for Clallam County.
Central and Eastern WA
Air quality will also slightly improve today in Central and Eastern Washington with southeast winds, although there is uncertainty in how much relief Central Washington will experience. Forecasted southwesterly winds tonight and tomorrow will increase smoke in the region. Air Quality Alerts comprise all Central and Eastern WA counties, and are extended through noon on Wednesday.
Expect significant clearing on Wednesday. Unfortunately, forecasted northerly winds could bring Canadian smoke to Northern Washington on Thursday and Friday. We'll update the blog as necessary.
We observed interesting smoke dynamics in the atmosphere on Saturday as the smoke was transported higher up in the atmosphere but then mixed down to the surface. Ecology's air quality sensor at the Mt. Rainier visitor center (elevation 5400') observed elevated PM2.5 concentrations 3 hours before the closest purple air sensor at Longmire (elevation 2700') and 8 hours before the purple air sensor in Ashford (elevation 1700').
Saturday, August 19, 2023
Spokane County is under a State of Emergency due to two large fires that have each burned approximately 10,000 acres: the Oregon Road Fire near Elk and the Gray Fire in Medical Lake. Many homes and structures have been lost and the fires are still very active. Spokane Emergency Management has information on evacuations and other important notices. Evacuation Shelters are available at Riverside High School and Spokane Falls Community College.
Current air quality is very unhealthy to hazardous due to both local and regional fires. Continued fire activity and region-wide smoke will continue to cause poor air quality until at least Monday. However, the remnants of Hurricane Hilary will likely push welcome moisture into the region late Monday and Tuesday, which will help clear the smoke and hopefully help with fire suppression.
When air quality is very unhealthy or worse, everyone should reduce exposure. Stay inside and filter indoor air to keep it cleaner. Go elsewhere for cleaner air, if needed. See the Health Information Tab on this blog for more information about how you can protect yourself from wildfire smoke. See the Local Smoke Outlooks for detailed forecasts in your area.
Friday, August 18, 2023
Recently a westerly wind pattern has been blowing wildfire smoke to the east and keeping it out of Western Washington. However, winds will shift overnight tonight to easterly – funneling smoke from fires in the Cascades and southern British Columbia into the Puget Sound region. All of Western Washington may be impacted – with the possible exception of the Olympics/coast.
|Forecasted Unhealthy air quality for 5am Sunday|
The air quality index is expected to reach Moderate or Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups on Saturday, increasing throughout the day. Northern counties will be affected first as smoke travels southward. Continued smoke movement on Sunday could lead to Unhealthy or worse air quality. Light westerly winds on Monday and stronger westerly winds on Tuesday should help clear out the smoke.
An Air Quality Alert is being issued for the following Western WA counties, beginning Saturday at 9am and continuing through Monday at noon: Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum, and Whatcom.
While air quality in Central and Eastern Washington has improved today, northerly winds this afternoon will lead to declining air quality conditions that will continue through the weekend. Air quality alerts remain in place until Monday morning.
Limit your exposure by staying indoors, keeping your windows closed, and using air purifiers. Track the current air quality on the smoke map at the top of this site.
Thursday, August 17, 2023
Smoke from local and Canadian fires is impacting air quality in Central and Eastern Washington, as seen on this morning's satellite image:
Conditions will improve somewhat tomorrow as westerly winds push the smoke away, but relief will be short-lived as the winds shift to bring smoke back into the region Saturday evening. It's likely to be smoky in most of Central and Eastern Washington through the weekend, ranging from Moderate to Unhealthy conditions.
There is an active Air Quality Alert for Central and Eastern Washington counties that extends through the weekend until Monday morning.
Critical fire weather continues across the state in this hot and dry weather. Active fire detections are shown in the map below.
We're also keeping an eye on the forecast for western Washington this weekend and will update the blog as needed. Easterly flow could transport smoke to the area, but as of now it's uncertain how much smoke will be transported.
As always, check out the smoke forecast and current air quality conditions in the map at the top of this page, and review DOH's tips for finding cleaner indoor air.
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Wildfire smoke is increasing in our state, which means we need to start taking steps to reduce our exposure and protect ourselves. Breathing in wildfire smoke can cause health problems, even if you are healthy.
- Limit duration and intensity of outside physical activity.
- Stay inside with cleaner indoor air:
- Close windows and doors, unless it is too hot to maintain safe temperatures.
- Don’t add to indoor air pollution by smoking cigarettes or burning candles inside.
- Filter indoor air through an HVAC system, HEPA portable air cleaner, or a DIY box fan filter.
- Set air conditioners to re-circulate.
- Seek clean air elsewhere if it is not possible to keep the air in your home clean or cool.
- If you must be outside, wear a properly fitted, NIOSH-approved particulate respirator, such as an N95 mask.
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
Westside Smoke Relief Tomorrow, Eastside Impacts Increase
Unfortunately, our hot and dry weather has led to increased activity on several fires in the Northern Cascades. Remote weather stations near the Sourdough Fire topped out at 100 F yesterday afternoon and the heat is only expected to increase today. Critical fire weather will continue for the next few days. Hot and dry conditions will persist in the interior through Friday, while strong westerly winds will impact the Cascades this afternoon and all of Eastern Washington on Thursday. With all these threats, resources are spread thin, so practice fire safety to keep the workload on our firefighting teams as low as possible!
Currently most smoke in Washington is coming from the Sourdough Fire and the Dome Peak Fire, which is located in mountainous terrain north of Glacier Peak. Dome Peak was ignited in the same lightning storm as Sourdough and remained quiet until the hot weather this week allowed it to start flaming. There is also some smoke entering the state from fires in southern British Columbia and the Idaho panhandle. An Air Quality Alert is being issued for Chelan and Okanogan counties that will extend through Friday.
The Sourdough Fire continues to burn in heavy timber along State Route 20 with significant growth potential forecasted for the rest of the week. The Dome Peak Fire northeast of Glacier Peak recently sparked up and is showing no signs of calming down through the rest of the week. Both fires are located near the Cascade Crest, so the wind direction will be very important in determining which side of the mountains see the most smoke.
Today will be the last day of significant smoke impacts for most of Western Washington. Later today, onshore flow will resume which will push most smoke east of the Cascade crest. This will cause smoke to flow down mountain valleys on the Eastern Slopes such as the Methow and down Lake Chelan. The Methow Valley will be an area of concern for the rest of the week with up to Unhealthy air quality through Friday. Areas near existing fires like Newhalem and Stehekin will see Very Unhealthy to Hazardous conditions, especially at night, when smoke gets trapped near the surface. Chelan could see up to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups for the rest of the week as well, while Moderate impacts are expected for Waterville, Darrington, and Concrete. Below is a depiction of smoke transport for the next 24-72 hrs.
Another concern is northerly winds through the Okanogan Valley channeling smoke from British Columbia towards the Columbia Basin overnight tonight and tomorrow. Similarly, smoke from the Ridge Creek fire in Idaho may be channeled west towards Spokane. These events will result in Moderate air quality for the Omak and Spokane areas through Wednesday, though impacts should subside for Thursday and Friday.
With mid and upper-level winds out of the west for the remainder of the week, elevated smoke will be visible across most of eastern Washington. As always, critical fire weather greatly increases the likelihood of new fires popping up statewide. If any new fires do crop up, smoke will be pushed east, so Eastern Washington will be primarily impacted.Jared McGlothlin
Sunday, August 13, 2023
A critical week of fire weather lies ahead
Monday, August 7, 2023
The Sourdough Fire in the North Cascades has grown to 1,400 acres and continues to impact air quality closest to the fire as well as in Chelan and Okanogan Counties. An Air Resource Advisor (ARA) has been assigned to the fire--please see the local Smoke Outlooks for their specific forecasts.
Over the weekend and into this morning, air monitoring sites in Chelan and Okanogan Counties observed smoke impacts corresponding to moderate and unhealthy for sensitive groups air quality levels.
Air quality will continue to improve today and tomorrow as smoke production from the Sourdough Fire continues to decrease. Potential rain will also help to dampen any fire growth. Areas closest to the fire (Ross and Diablo Lakes) will continue to observe smoke impacts corresponding to moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups air quality levels. In the Methow Valley, moderate air quality levels are expected to continue, with the potential for air quality to intermittently reach unhealthy for sensitive groups tonight and tomorrow night. Westerly winds will keep smoke away from the western slopes of the cascades.
As for the rest of the state, moderate smoke impacts across Eastern Washington from fires in Idaho, Montana, and Canada will continue through tomorrow. Smaller local fires (such as the Agency Butte Fire east of Nespelem in Okanogan County) could contribute to deteriorating air quality conditions closest to the fires, but smoke production will be mitigated by today's rain. Shifting winds on Wednesday will lead to improvements and cleaner air as westerly winds push smoke out of the region.
A reminder to keep an eye on the 5-day smoke forecast and current air quality conditions at the map at the top of this page, and we'll update the blog as needed.
Thursday, August 3, 2023
Local fires will be the primary source of surface smoke
Upper level smoke from fires in Idaho, Montana, and Canada will be transported toward Washington, as well
Sourdough Fire Update: Our maintenance crews took this photo of the wildfire burning near Diablo Dam in Whatcom County.— WSDOT North (@wsdot_north) August 3, 2023
📋More info: https://t.co/3vJJPWXty6
⛔️Do not pull over to take photos or fly drones.
🚧Obey all road signs
➡️ Follow @NCascadesNPS https://t.co/TWNHLAxJiL pic.twitter.com/mQUyCf7649
Fortunately, cooler weather and precipitation chances are in the forecast for this weekend. The impact of smoke from the Eagle Bluff Fire has already been dramatically reduced by fire suppression efforts, and the upcoming weather will tamp down smoke production from the Sourdough Fire. Along with the precipitation, however, is a shift in the upper level winds that will draw elevated smoke from Idaho, Montana, and Canada toward Washington. Below you can see the wind aloft over Washington expected for this weekend.
The primary impact from the out-of-state smoke will be slight reductions in air quality across much of eastern Washington through the weekend, particularly overnight and through the morning hours. I do not anticipate widespread AQI in the Orange/Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range, but Yellow/Moderate AQI will likely continue for areas such as Spokane, Colville, and the Tri-Cities. Widespread cloud cover this weekend across Washington will hide the dingy grey skies usually associated with wildfire smoke, so be sure to check the Washington Department of Ecology's Smoke & Fire page for the air quality in your area: Smoke & Fire Air Quality
Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Sunday, July 30, 2023
The Eagle Bluff fire exploded yesterday and continues to grow, with over 10,000 acres burned so far. There was some minimal lightning recently, but the cause is still officially under investigation. Evacuations are in effect near Oroville, in Okanogan county and in Canada around Osoyoos. Shelter is available at the Oroville High School. Fire crews and aircraft are fighting the fire actively, but the fire is burning quickly in timber and brush with wind driven runs. Structures are threatened and road closures are in effect.
Moderate to Unhealthy smoke surrounds the area along Highway US-97 from Omak to Osoyoos. Smoky conditions in Okanogan county should be expected for the coming days. This fire is rapidly spreading, please stay up to date on evacautions via Okanogan County Emergency Management.KREM 2 News. Credit: Susan Christensen
Friday, July 28, 2023
The Newell Road Fire is now at 61,000 acres and 71% contained, and smoke impacts from the fire have continued to decrease since last weekend. We're also unlikely to see smoke impacts from the Simnasho and Bedrock fires currently burning in Oregon. Washington's Air Quality should continue to be GOOD for the near future.
Please continue to recreate responsibly this weekend by observing fire bans and fully extinguishing recreational fires, as high winds can exacerbate fire spread.
And to wrap up this Friday post, a quick aside about our air quality so far this wildfire season. If you're thinking that in general air quality has been pretty good, you're not wrong! Below is a plot of observed daily air quality levels for each day since May. Each row corresponds to the maximum air quality level observed in each county on a given day. Lots of green, or GOOD air quality!
Saturday, July 22, 2023
The Newell Road Fire in Klickitat County has grown considerably over the past day, with recent reports that it has burned 30,000 acres of grass, brush, and trees. Evacuations are in effect. Westerly winds will continue and strengthen, which could lead to more rapid fire growth over the next couple days. The fire is sending smoke into Benton and Franklin Counties, which is expected to continue through the weekend. We are seeing Moderate to USG air quality in the Tri-Cities.
We also expect some light smoke aloft in southeast Washington on Monday from the fires in Oregon.
Please see the Health Information tab on this blog to learn how you can protect yourself from wildfire smoke.
Friday, July 21, 2023
Close observers of the Fire and Smoke Map (airnow.gov) over the last few days may have noticed the persistent smoke plume overlaying our region, as seen from the Thursday 7/20 afternoon image below.
Very close observers may have wondered: “If the skies of Washington State have been dimmed by smoke from wildfires in Oregon and Canada for the last few days, how is it that our Air Quality index has mostly remained GOOD?”
The answer is that the smoke plume from these out of region fires has remained aloft at or above 10k feet; when smoke is present at that altitude but not at ground level, it can register on satellite imagery, but not on air quality monitors and sensors on the ground.
Within the state, fires on Joint Base Lewis-McChord have contributed near surface smoke to the south Puget Sound beginning on Wednesday 7/19. At least one these fires is burning in the Artillery Impact Area and is therefore not subject to full suppression tactics. Expect this fire to continue to produce mild-moderate smoke impacts locally until it burns itself out.
NOAA HRRR Near Surface Smoke: 7/20 @ 3:15pm
Other smaller fires did occur on both sides of the Cascades this week, but were quickly suppressed, and did not have lasting impacts on local air quality.
Moving into the weekend, the National Weather Service elevated fire risk for the eastside of the state from Friday through Monday. By observing fire bans, fully extinguishing recreational fires where they are allowed, and traveling responsibly you are making a positive contribution to Washington State’s public health and safety.
Enjoy the weekend!
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
Residents in the Vancouver/Portland area woke up to unhealthy air quality levels this morning. Air quality deteriorated overnight due to transported smoke from an industrial fire at Nippon Dynawave Packaging in Longview that started yesterday evening.
The Southwest Clean Air Agency has issued a Air Pollution Advisory for Clark and Cowlitz Counties today through Friday, July 21. We'll continue to monitor the situation and update the blog as needed.
Friday, July 14, 2023
The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Warning and Fire Weather Watch for Central and Eastern WA, with temperatures over 100 degrees expected in the Tri-Cities and other nearby areas. The hottest temperatures will be on Sunday in the Columbia Basin, while winds become gusty. A dry cold front will sweep through on Monday delivering strong winds with the potential to spread any new fires. We will need to take extra care to recreate responsibly this weekend by observing fire bans, and fully extinguishing recreational fires where they are allowed. Stay hydrated and prepare for high temps!
Wednesday, July 5, 2023
The combination of good weather (a high pressure system), wildfire smoke from British Columbia, and fireworks led to very high air pollution last night in the Puget Sound area. This was particularly true in Pierce County where air quality was in the Very Unhealthy range earlier this morning. Thankfully air quality has greatly improved and most areas are Moderate.
With another hot day today we should see good vertical mixing – when the air near the ground heats up and rises, bringing smoke with it. This will dilute the smoke and continue to improve air quality.
The majority of the pollution we saw last night was due to fireworks. The wildfire smoke from British Columbia, which arrived earlier in the day on July 4th, only pushed us from Good to Moderate. We don’t expect more of that smoke in the near future, though the fires are still burning and the possibility of smoke later on remains.
Given that, we may see another (smaller) pollution spike tonight depending on how many fireworks are left over.
Also, there is a wildfire near Shelton, the McEwan fire, that started yesterday afternoon and has burned around 250 acres as of last count. Crews are working to create fire lines to prevent the fire from spreading. Air quality in Shelton is currently at Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups and smoke impacts are expected to persist for the time being. So far we expect impacts to be local, but models show that some smoke could reach Pierce County overnight.Sensors in Skamania county along the Columbia river are showing USG smoke impacts from the Tunnel Five fire.
We will continue to monitor the situation and update as needed.
Monday, July 3, 2023
Just a couple miles west of White Salmon, the Tunnel Five fire is burning actively in timber and brush, causing local smoke impacts in Skamania and Klickitat counties along the Columbia river. Evacuations and road closures are in effect while crews work on containing the fire. Currently the fire has burned over 500 acres in hot/dry conditions, and winds are expected to send smoke around the Columbia river gorge in that area for the next few days. White Salmon is currently showing unhealthy air on sensors, with moderate smoke making its way to Dallesport. Tuesday and Wednesday will have a wind shift, with local smoke impacts expected in Carson, Stevenson, and North Bonneville.
Hot and dry weather is expected through this week with fire danger expected to peak on Wednesday/Thursday. Fire potential is elevated on the 4th of July due to the combination of rising fire danger, dry weather, and potential extra ignitions. The National Weather Service currently has a Red Flag Warning for Central WA and SouthWest WA.
Meanwhile, we expect some moderate smoke to impact parts of WA on Tuesday/Wednesday from the BC fires. This will likely cause hazy conditions and some minor smoke impacts, at first across the northern counties of the state (e.g. Clallam, Whatcom, Okanogan, etc.) and potentially lingering across the state into Thursday.
Enjoy your mid-week Holiday!
Friday, June 30, 2023
The National Weather Service issued a Fire Weather Watch for portions of Central Washington on Saturday.
Please keep in mind that fireworks not only contribute to smoke but also are responsible for starting new fires. Fires can start and spread much more easily in hot and dry conditions. Please exercise extreme caution if igniting fireworks. If recreating, check local fire restrictions and consider if a campfire is necessary.
Based on the hot and dry weather, some areas may observe Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups air quality intermittently through the weekend and holiday. It's also likely that local smoke impacts from firework displays and usage will linger into the morning of July 5th.
We're also keeping an eye on the wildfires burning in Alberta and British Columbia--shifting conditions to winds from the north could lead to smoke impacts in Washington State next week. At this time it's uncertain how much of that transported smoke will reach the surface and how much will stay above us in the atmosphere. A reminder that the latest air quality conditions and 5 day smoke forecast are shown in the map at the top of this page, and we'll update the blog as needed.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July!
Thursday, June 15, 2023
Smoke from British Columbia is filtering southward into Washington
Gusty westerly winds return Friday, clearing smoke
Monday, June 12, 2023
It appears summer has arrived early in the Pacific Northwest so now is the ideal time to prepare for wildfire smoke season.
Wildfire smoke not only affects your outdoor plans, but it can make it hard to breathe, and cause or worsen existing health problems.
Every year federal, state, and local agencies and Tribes across the region get #SmokeReady to bring you the most current information on how wildfire smoke may impact your summer plans and health through this blog.
Read more about wildfire prevention, where to find burn ban information, how to monitor air quality, and get smoke forecasts on the Washington Dept. of Ecology’s website or read their blog available in English and Spanish:
And then take some time to review the Washington Dept. of Health’s guidance on how to protect yourself and your family’s health from wildfire smoke.