Smoke forecast for Monday, July 16

The map shows the prediction for the distribution of smoke from wildfires at 6 p.m. MDT July 16, 2018. Much of it is generated at the Ferguson Fire west of Yosemite National Park in California.

Wildfire smoke map, July 9, 2018

This is the prediction for the distribution of wildfire smoke for 6 p.m. MDT July 9, 2018. It is an experimental forecast from NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory.

The scientists expect significant smoke impacts Monday in areas of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

Most of the smoke is coming from the Klamathon Fire on the Oregon/California border and the Martin Fire in Northern Nevada.

Long-term effects of smoke exposure can be difficult to determine

Above: Firefighters arrive at the White Tail Fire in South Dakota, March 8, 2017. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Researchers are finding it difficult to conduct research on the long-term effects of exposure to smoke from wildfires. Last year in some areas of the Northern Rockies in the United States and Canada residents suffered through one of the worst seasons of smoke in a while.

Below are excerpts from an article at Pacific Standard. Most of it is about the effects on residents, but it also mentions firefighters.

“Seeley Lake was the worst smoke event we have ever seen, and I think possibly has been seen, at least in the United States and Canada,” [Sarah] Coefield says. “Every single day, the smoke is hazardous. I’d wake up every hour at night, and check the smoke, and then fret about Seeley Lake. What do I say in the morning? ‘It’s terrible. Again.'”

[…]

Then there is the difficulty of securing the financial resources to undertake a long-term study. Even researching the effects of smoke on firefighters—who, with their regular and intense exposures to wildfires, are among the worst affected—can be difficult, says John Balmes, professor of environmental health sciences at the Berkeley School of Public Health.

“Occupational studies of wildland firefighters are a problem because it’s a workforce that tends to turn over a lot,” he says. For one study, he followed a group of firefighters across the fire season to monitor their exposure, but didn’t get the funding needed to follow up on their health the next year—a progression that could have shed light on the long-term effects of smoke.

Smoke affecting much of the U.S.

Above: Blue Sky’s prediction for PM2.5 particulate matter for May 1, 2018.

Smoke from four large wildfires, agricultural burning, and prescribed fires are pumping a great deal of smoke and particulate matter into the atmosphere. These maps, created by the Forest Service’s Blue Sky program, show predictions for the amount of very small smoke particles, 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller, which can only be seen with an electron microscope. Fine particles, known as PM 2.5, are produced from all types of combustion, including motor vehicles, power plants, residential wood burning, forest fires, agricultural burning, and some industrial processes.

map prediction smoke particulate matter pm2.5
Blue Sky’s prediction for PM2.5 particulate matter for May 2, 2018.

The Tinder Fire has burned 11,420 acres in central Arizona and is being suppressed.

The OK Bar Fire in extreme southern New Mexico is 44,000 acres and is not being fully suppressed.

A Type 1 Incident Management Team has been ordered for the 2,000-acre McDannel Fire in west Texas 21 miles west of Ft. Davis.

The 5,800-acre North County Road 7 Fire is burning in northern Minnesota five miles south of the Canadian border 11 miles northwest of Greenbush. The fuels burning are mostly grass and swampland, said Christi Powers, an information officer for the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center in Grand Rapids, Minn.