Washington Smoke Map

*The map above is not able to display all state air quality monitors. Click here to see all monitors in Washington: WA Ecology Air Monitors

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

10-01-2013 Smoke Blog Now Deactivated

Due to lessening wildfire risk, this Washington Smoke Information Blog has been deactivated.  It will be available again next fire season if needed.  In the meantime, the best place to learn about current air quality conditions in Washington is from the Department of Ecology at this site: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/
The goal of this blog is to provide coordinated, timely and public “one-stop information” so that individuals can make informed decisions to protect their health during periods when wildfire smoke is impacting the public.  During a wildfire smoke incident, this blog will be used to provide links to critical information that the public may be concerned about, such as air quality conditions and forecasts, school and activity closures, burn bans, location of clean air shelters, and travel restrictions due to visibility. Information posted on the blog is coordinated by an informal team of state, federal, tribal and local agencies striving to provide consistent and accurate information during air quality smoke incidents from wildfires.
The links on this blog that connect to the various agencies that provide information on smoke, wildfire and health management will continue to work.
We would like to hear from you if you have questions or comments.  Please contact Janice Peterson at jlpeterson@ fs.fed.us

Thank you for your interest.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wildfire Smoke Forecast

Washington State Department of Ecology

3:45 pm PDT Thursday, 22 August 2013


Fire facts from the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center

Manastash Ridge WA-OWF-000619. ICT3 (McPhee) 24 mi W of Ellensburg, WA. Start 8/20/2013. Full Suppression. Timber. Cause lightning. 425 acres (+225). 0% containment. Steep terrain, difficult access. Private property remains threatened. Moderate fire behavior. Area and trail closures are in effect. Previously reported as Manastash.

Government Flats Complex OR-954S-000022. Unified Command. IMT2 ODF (Thorpe/Cline) and OSFM (Ingrao). 10 mi SW of The Dalles, OR. Start 8/16/2013. Full Suppression. Timber. Cause lightning. 9,600 (+2,875)ac. 15% containment. FEMA declaration on 8/17 at 1200. Active fire behavior. Values at risk include residences, power lines, The Dalles Water Treatment Center and Evans Reservoir. Level 2 evacuations and road closures are in effect. Includes 3 fires: Blackburn 9,305 (+2,875)ac 16%, Government Flats 229ac (+0)ac 100%, Wells 66 (+0)ac 100%.

Eagle WA-OWF-000616. IMT2 (Rabe). 5 mi NE of Leavenworth, WA. Start 8/19/2013. Full Suppression. Grass and timber. Cause under investigation. 790 acres (+490). 10% containment. Active fire behavior. Level 2 and 3 evacuations are in effect. Values at risk include structures, power lines, commercial timber, and T&E species. State Fire Mobilization authorized 8/20.

Conrad Lake WA-OWF-000530. IMT2 (Allbee). 35 mi SW of Naches-S Fork Tieton, WA. Start 8/9/2013. Full Suppression. Timber. Cause lightning. 980 acres (+0). 22% containment. Minimal fire activity. Values at risk include structures, natural and cultural resources. Tentative transition to local unit 8/23.

            For updated "Significant Fire" details, visit InciWeb or the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center (NWCC) at http://www.nwccweb.us/index.aspx.


            AIR QUALITY:

Most communities in Washington have Good air quality.  Several communities along the eastern edge of Washington from Spokane south to Clarkston have Moderate air quality.  Some areas in Yakima county also have Moderate air quality.  The area of biggest concern is the Wenatchee-Leavenworth area where smoke from the Eagle fire has produced Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups air quality.

Statewide air quality index readings are available at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/Default.htm



Wildfire smoke dispersion depends on the stability of the atmosphere and wind speed.  A stable atmosphere reduces the height that a plume will reach and will tend to trap smoke near the ground.  Unstable atmospheres, created by either sunlight warming the ground or moderate wind speeds, rapidly disperse smoke.


The low, currently over northwestern California, will track northeasterly to cross the Central Washington Cascades Friday morning.  In the process, it will open up and lose much of its strength, producing only light amounts of precipitation.  The Haines Index, values greater than four indicate strong convection and possible lightning, drops below three Thursday evening and remains there through the weekend.  The Leavenworth area should see some light precipitation early Friday morning and temperatures should be as much as ten degrees cooler.  Friday morning southwest winds should begin moving smoke northeastward across the Columbia Basin and push away any that intruded from wildfires in Idaho.

Winds along the Columbia are predicted to be westerly and should keep smoke from the Government Flats Complex away from Southern Washington.


An upper level trough will move in closer to the state from off the coast over the weekend and early next week bringing cooler temperatures and more clouds. Sufficient precipitation is forecasted on Friday and again on Tuesday to reduce the likelihood of additional fire starts from lightning.

That precipitation should also reduce the amount of smoke.  Most areas of the state should return to Good air quality.  Leavenworth may continue to have Moderate air quality because of smoke from the nearby Eagle fire.

            Updated Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA) chart

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Air Quality Alert Wenatchee Area 8/20/13

Re:  Smoke in the Air MODERATE in Wenatchee Area

Air quality throughout parts of Chelan and Douglas Counties is presently being impacted by the fire near Leavenworth. Air quality will likely continue to deteriorate.  Smoke is originating from fires near Eagle Creek.  Air quality conditions will also vary greatly between locations.

During these conditions, individuals with pre-existing heart and lung conditions such as asthma and emphysema, the elderly, and children should limit or avoid any outdoor activity.  Sensitive people are advised to remain indoors with windows and doors closed, avoid excessive exertion, and avoid exposure to tobacco smoke or other respiratory irritants. 

Adverse symptoms may include dizziness, headache, difficulty breathing, coughing, excessive phlegm, and nausea.  Conditions may not adversely affect the general population.  For specific medical advice contact your physician.

More information is available concerning air quality and current fire conditions at the following websites:
Ecology:                     https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/
Forest Service:            http://inciweb.org/
Real-time webcams:   www.wenatcheeworld.com

Friday, August 9, 2013

Wildfire smoke forecast: 9 August 2013

Mostly "Good" air quality expected over the weekend, but...
Statewide air quality monitors have been showing Good air quality over the last several days. Though the Colockum Tarps Fire southeast of Wenatchee is the only major active wildfire at present (80,000+ acres, 75% contained) other smaller fires have been reported, mostly on the east slopes of the Cascades. Smoke impacts from these fires are likely to be limited to nearby areas.
A low pressure system approaching from the southeast is due to affect our state starting Friday evening into Sunday. A red flag warning for thunderstorms, lightning and possible new fire starts has been issued for areas both east and west of the Cascades. A flash flood watch has also been issued for the east slopes of the Cascades, as rainfall is predicted to increase as the weekend progresses. Areas near burn scars are particularly susceptible to flash floods.
While the strong winds accompanying this sort of weather generally helps disperse smoke quite well, it does not rule out smoke impacts close to the fires. There is a possibility that a little smoke from Idahoan wildfires could impact the far eastern parts of the state. By Sunday, models hint that a bit of smoke from wildfires in southwestern Oregon could get dragged over south-central WA.
Overall, expect air quality to remain "Good" in most areas through the weekend. A few "Moderate" areas cannot be ruled out.
For more information, please contact:
Ranil Dhammapala, PhD.
Atmospheric Scientist
Washington State Department of Ecology
P.O Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Tel: 360-407-6807
Fax: 360-407-7534
Email: ranil.dhammapala@ecy.wa.gov

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

8/7/2013 EPA Lifts Burn Ban for Yakama Reservation

EPA Lifts Burn Ban for Yakama Reservation

Gary Olson, 206-553-0977, olson.gary@epa.gov
Keith Rose, 206-553-1949, rose.keith@epa.gov

(Seattle—August 7,2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has lifted the burn ban on all outdoor burning on the Yakama Reservation. Wildfire smoke that had caused the air quality to reach unhealthy levels for sensitive groups is under control and the air quality monitor readings are in the more normal range.
Please call 1-800-424-4EPA and ask for the FARR Hotline or visit the Federal Air Rules for Reservations (FARR) website for the current burn status at www.epa.gov/r10earth/FARR.htm.

Please repeat this message throughout your broadcasting day and weather portions of your newscast.

Gary Olson
EPA R-10
Suite 900 ,AWT-107
1200 6th AVE
Seattle, WA 98101

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

8/6/2013 Burnout operations on Colockum Tarps Fire could increase smoke output

A "burn-out" is a useful tool for gaining control of a wildfire and preventing it from spreading out-of-control.  Firefighters on Colockum Tarps plan to use this technique of controlled use of fire to create buffer areas in the coming days.  This may result in some extra smoke and emissions in the area of the wildfire, especially along the west perimeter.  

Lower humidity optimum for burn-out operations on the 
west perimeter of the Colockum Tarps Fire

Wenatchee, Wash. – Fire managers found a window of opportunity yesterday afternoon to initiate burn-out operations in Division C on the west flank of the Colockum Tarps Fire. Relative humidity dropped enough for a successful test burn. Fire crews then started igniting along prepared, reinforced firelines to remove unburned ground fuels and create a blackened strip. The burned area was patrolled by crews throughout the night.

Today firefighters are expected to continue burnout along the west fire perimeter to create a continuous broad buffer. Once the blackened line area is sufficiently wide and cool, burnout of more interior fuels will proceed using aerial ignition techniques. Aerial ignition uses ping-pong-ball-like spheres filled with chemicals that, once ejected from an aircraft, ignite after hitting the ground. The spheres are spread in pattern intended to burn out large areas yet avoid undue damage. Aerial application is useful for burning out areas too steep or inaccessible for firefighters to safely enter.  Aerial ignition is likely to be implemented within the next 36 hours when the reinforced fireline is ready and weather conditions are right to obtain the intended result.

More details area available here: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/3567/19781/