LOCAL NEWS

Smoke moves in across Puget Sound

Jul 30, 2021, 2:23 PM | Updated: Aug 1, 2021, 9:00 pm
Seattle, Puget Sound smoke...
Smoke along the Seattle skyline in September 2020. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

While the Puget Sound region has managed to dodge the worst of the fallout from wildfires across Washington this summer, smoke finally arrived on Friday and is here to stay through the weekend.

State shatters records amid ‘early, alarming’ start to wildfire season

Up until now, onshore winds have kept smoke out of Western Washington, with Central and Eastern Washington bearing the brunt of the state’s recent fires. At one point early last week, even New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Toronto had more smoke from West Coast wildfires in their skies than any city west of the Cascades.

“Western Washington has mostly lucked out so far this year when it comes to wildfire smoke,” the state-run Washington Smoke Blog said in its most recent update. “That steady flow of clean air can’t hold up all summer, and indeed it seems to be changing on Friday, Saturday, and into Sunday.”

That will be due to a “ripple in pressure patterns,” sending smoke from Northern California and Oregon fires straight through Western Washington. Additional smoke will be pushed into the region from Eastern Washington as well.

In terms of air quality, this will bring what forecasters describe as “a classic upstairs-downstairs situation.” That means that while smoke will still be arriving across the Puget Sound region, it will be passing through with enough height (roughly a mile and a quarter) to only lightly impact air quality in the lowlands.

Colville, Okanogan County residents in need of crews for wildfires

The impact of smoke is measured by something known as the Air Quality Index (AQI), broken down into six categories: good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, very unhealthy, and hazardous. The Puget Sound region’s “upstairs-downstairs” situation this weekend is expected to produce an AQI rating somewhere between “good” and “moderate.” Or as forecasters put it:

“The Puget Sound should continue to have good to moderate air quality downstairs, even though the upstairs will look hazy,” the Washington Smoke Blog described.

Eastern Washington

In the Tri-Cities, air quality was at a level considered unhealthy for many people Saturday morning as smoke drifted in from fires burning in the Blue Mountains.

The Benton Clean Air Agency has issued an air quality alert for the next several days.

At the air monitoring station at Mesa in Franklin County, the air quality was rated as unhealthy for all people.

Meanwhile, the Washington Department of Ecology extended an Air Quality Alert to Okanogan, Ferry, and Stevens counties.

Spokane was covered with gray smoke on Saturday morning and the temperature was forecast to reach 103 degrees.

Spokane has already seen five days with a high temperature of 100 degrees or more this year. The most ever in one year was six and that record was set back in 1928. That record will likely be tied on Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Local News

1400 S 320th St, Federal Way, WA 98003 (courtesy of King County)...
MyNorthwest Staff

King County to repurpose homeless hotel to house Afghan refugees

$500,000 will assist Afghan refugees in the form of temporary housing and community services at Federal Way’s Extended Stay America.
1 day ago
Dow Constantine, King COunty vaccine mandate...
Nick Bowman

King County reaches deal with ‘majority’ of unions on vaccine mandate

Officials say they have reached an agreement with a "majority" of unions on a vaccine mandate for King County employees taking effect in October.
1 day ago
Sound Transit Northgate light rail...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Three new light rail stations to open in North Seattle next month

Commuters will soon be able to ride underground from Downtown Seattle to Northgate traffic-free when three new Link light rail stations open next month.
1 day ago
capital gains, legislative districts...
Nick Bowman

Washington Republicans, Democrats spar over redrawing of state’s legislative map

The redrawing of Washington's state's legislative districts already has Democrats and Republicans at odds, with less than 2 months to come to an accord.
1 day ago
Lenny Wilkens...
Dalton Day

Sonics’ Lenny Wilkens to be immortalized in namesake at Climate Pledge Arena

Seattle City Council voted to have “Lenny Wilkens Way" take the place of Thomas Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue North by Climate Pledge Arena.
1 day ago
washington hospitals, test, variants...
Kathryn Altena

UW researchers help develop test to detect COVID variants in hours, not weeks

Researchers with the University of Washington are helping to develop a test that can identify different variants of COVID-19 within two hours.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...
By Alaska Airlines

Calling all football fans: follow Russell on the road

Take your Northwest spirit that we’re known for on the road this season with Alaska Airlines.
...
By Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.