Friday, August 21, 2015

Washington State fires - Smoke and Dust Aug 21, 2015

Loss of Firefighters, Smoke and Dust in Washington State

From the blog that reports smoke from fires in Washington State:


Smoke forecast through Monday 24 August

We are deeply saddened by the loss of local firefighters, homes, property and 
wild spaces in our region. Stay safe and look out for each other.

Link: Firefighters killed near Twisp: ‘three big heroes protecting small towns’

Three firefighters who died in a firestorm near Twisp Wednesday:
 Richard Wheeler, Tom Zbyszewski, and Andrew Zajac. 
(Photos courtesy of the families)

Air quality has improved across much of eastern Washington in the last 
12 hours as the dry cold front pushed through, increasing the intensity of 
northwest winds. Most areas are reporting Good air quality now. 
But alas, reports of rapid fire growth are steadily streaming in. 
The Red Flag Warning remains in place until at least 11:00 pm PDT 
with high wind gusts in many areas (up to 50 mph in the Okanogan Valley). 
There is also a strong possibility of windblown dust in the Columbia Basin today.

Things calm down on Saturday morning and surface winds turn east to 
northeast in much of the state (north winds in the Okanogan and 
Columbia River Valleys) through about Sunday afternoon. 
The smoke we exported to Idaho and Montana will return to us along with 
smoke from Idahoan fires. Smoke is very likely to make its way into 
Western Washington as well. However plumes that are able to get 
high enough will likely get caught in westerly flow aloft and keep
 heading eastbound.

Keep a close eye on the monitors and local forecasts as expected levels 
of pollution will depend on today’s fire growth. Expect pollution to begin to
 build regionally over the weekend. Valley winds will be mostly terrain driven,
 so expect poor air quality at night. Overnight temperature inversions are
 likely to be strong, so smoke wont clear out all that quickly after sunrise. 

Areas close to fires and the far eastern parts of the state are likely to 
see air quality varying from Moderate to Hazardous.

Columbia Basin and Cascade Foothills communities, including communities 
close to the Columbia River Gorge will likely see air quality varying from
 Good to Unhealthy. 

Western Washington including the Puget Sound region is likely to see periods of Moderate or USG air.

National Weather Service has also issued Air Quality Alerts for much
 of eastern Washington due to wildfire smoke, through noon on Monday.