Smoke set to envelop Seattle as heat and wildfire danger increases this weekend
Sep 8, 2022, 3:04 PM | Updated: Sep 12, 2022, 8:45 am
(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
Wildfires from the north will likely bring hazy skies and worse air quality to Seattle this weekend, as windy weather and increased temperatures raise concerns across Western Washington
This will be another hot weekend, bringing temperatures into the low 80s on Friday, and the low 90s by Saturday. Wildfire risk is especially high in the Puget Sound region, which has led the National Weather Service to issue a Red Flag Warning to the area.
A Red Flag Warning announces critical fire weather conditions, meaning the risk of starting a small wildfire or of a wildfire getting out of control is much higher, according to Matthew Dehr with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.
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A weekend wind event, along with dry conditions, could cause severe wildfire activity across the state, including west of the Cascades, and currently, the DNR said they are expecting sustained east winds of 15 to 20 mph Friday and Saturday.
“Every single fire danger area and jurisdiction across Washington does have some level of burn bans in effect, so people will have to be very mindful of their burning,” Dehr said. “Of note, there are no major active fires west of the Cascades, so human-caused fires are our primary concern for Friday and Saturday.”
Jeff Michalski with the National Weather Service says that the wind patterns will bring smoke from fires into Seattle and the rest of the Puget Sound.
“So there’s quite a bit of smoke from wildfires in the Northern Cascades right now and also in Southern British Columbia,” Michalski said. “So with this offshore flow pattern, this smoke will be fanning out down toward Western Washington. So there may be impacts to air quality due to the smoke, and we are working closely with our air quality partners.”
While the smoke is likely to dissipate by early next week, Michalski stated that it is possible the smoke will come back.
“If we do have another period of offshore flow and warm temperatures, we could see these conditions return,” Michalski said.
Dry conditions will likely continue on Sunday, though winds will calm significantly.
Dehr said there is reason to rejoice though, with this hot weather likely being one of the last periods of wildfire danger for the year.
“It’s going to be downhill after this, especially for the west side,” Dehr said. “So we really are just asking folks, we need to get through this weekend without any major fire starts, and then we can start putting fire season 2022 to rest.”