[8/29/17] Smokey Skies

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The number one question being asked in the region the last few days seems to be, “where’s the smoke coming from?” the answer seems to be, mostly from Oregon. Smoke from fires burning more than 300-thousand acres in blowing in, degrading the air quality in the area.

Winds from the south channeled smoke plumes across NCW from at least five major Oregon fires ranging in size from 108,000 acres down to 14,000 acres. Another four blazes in central Washington — in Okanogan, Kittitas and Ferry counties — are also contributing to the haze in NCW.

This morning, Chelan County Emergency Management rated air quality as “good” in Chelan, Malaga and Quincy, “moderate” in Winthrop, and “unhealthy for sensitive groups” in Wenatchee, Okanogan, and Twisp.

The good news is that a mild, dry front will sweep through the region early Wednesday. “It’ll bring a shift in wind direction — from the west — that should help clear the skies” of Oregon smoke and improve NCW air quality, he said. Local fires in the Cascades could still be an issue, however.

In central Washington, active fires included the 32-thousand acre Diamond Creek Fire in the Pasayten Wilderness, the 44-hundred acre Jolly Mountain Fire north of Cle Elum, and the 22-hundred acre Norse Peak Fire west of Ellensburg.