Thursday, June 15, 2023

Minor Smoke Impacts Today; Clearing for Weekend

Smoke from British Columbia is filtering southward into Washington

The 1.2 million acre Donnie Creek Fire in northeast British Columbia is primarily responsible for the smoke impacts we are seeing this morning across eastern Washington. The smoke is being driven southward by the low pressure system that brought strong westerly winds to Washington earlier this week, and is currently departing the state to the northeast. Due to the origin location of the smoke and the current prevailing wind pattern, smoke is expected to remain east of the Cascade crest in Washington. 

Gusty westerly winds return Friday, clearing smoke

In the wake of the low pressure system, Washington will experience a much calmer day of weather for Thursday, with weaker winds and slightly sunnier skies. The pattern will turn cloudier and windier again by midday Friday as another low pressure system moves toward the Pacific coast from the west. Strong westerly winds will again develop for Friday and are likely to continue through the weekend. These winds will clear out the current smoke through the night Thursday, and we should see much improved AQI's across the state for Friday and the weekend. 

There were several grass fires in south and central Washington that ignited on Tuesday and Wednesday under the dry and very windy conditions, and fire danger will again be elevated for Friday and Saturday. The smoke from these grass fires did not cause any air quality issues due to the strong winds and excellent vertical mixing quickly lifting the smoke above ground level and dispersing it in the wind. Fire danger for Friday and Saturday will not be as high as it was on Tuesday, but any new fire starts in fine, grassy fuels will be capable of quick spread, though their smoke impacts will be minimal. 

This week is Smoke Ready Week in Washington! Learn more about how wildfire smoke affects your health and steps you can take to reduce your exposure here: Smoke Ready WA

Matthew Dehr, Wildfire Meteorologist 
Washington DNR 

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