Smoke from the massive wildfires in Central Washington blanketed the Puget Sound this weekend, but the winds are expected to shift and push out the haze by Monday afternoon.
The edge of the smoke plume reached Whidbey Island around 8 a.m. Saturday, according to Cliff Mass, Atmospheric Scientist at the University of Washington.
Related: Latest on the Washington wildfires
By Sunday, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency reported air quality was moderate for many areas. Air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups in Marysville, Everett, and North Bend. Darrington’s air quality was considered unhealthy.
Mass said that the shifting winds on Sunday provided a marine layer for Monday morning. The downside is the wind will increase fire danger east of the Cascades.
In the meantime, the haze had another effect on the Puget Sound — visually. The Saturday sunset over Seattle had a rather red appearance. The moon to follow, had the same effect.
It’s a phenomenon caused by different wavelengths of light and how they interact with the atmosphere. People see different wavelengths of light as different colors; these wavelengths travel at different speeds. So when the sun’s light reaches the Earth’s atmosphere, some wavelengths — colors — are slower to travel through it, and some even bounce off.
With wildfires throwing more and more smoke into the atmosphere, it means that the wavelengths have more atmosphere to travel through, and in the end, the red wavelength makes it through the easiest.