Dozens of active wildfires in the Northwest U.S.

Above: Active wildfires in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Western Montana, and Northern California at 4:18 a.m. MDT August 16, 2017.

(Originally published at 10:21 a.m. MDT August 16, 2017)

Dozens of wildfires are active in the Northwest one-quarter of the United States. Many of them have been burning for several weeks under a limited suppression strategy. The states of Washington and Oregon have a total of 32 large uncontained fires that have spread over 810,171 acres.

Air Quality Index LegendAt times the area around Missoula has been heavily affected by smoke. Here are some PM 2.5 readings from Wednesday morning:

  • Seeley Lake: 180
  • Missoula: 33
  • Lolo: 54
  • Superior: 180
  • French Town: 19
  • Clinton: 26
wildfires near Missoula, Montana
Satellite photo showing smoke from wildfires near Missoula, Montana, August 15, 2017.
wildfires northwest california
Satellite photo showing smoke from wildfires in northwest California, August 15, 2017.
wildfires northwest united states
Active wildfires (without added name tags) in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Western Montana, and Northern California at 4:18 a.m. MDT August 16, 2017.

Two men escape from inmate firefighting crew in Washington

escaped prisonersAt about 2:35 a.m. Tuesday two men escaped from an inmate crew that was assigned to the Head Water Fire in south-central Washington nine miles north of Goldendale. Tyray Munter, 30, was serving time for second degree assault and theft; Maksim Petrovskiy, 22, was convicted of possession of a stolen vehicle.

When not assigned to a fire the prisoners were held at the Olympic Corrections Center near Forks, Washington which houses approximately 380 minimum custody male inmates.

The Head Water Fire has burned 100 acres and has the following resources assigned: 2 hand crews, 6 engines, and 3 helicopters for a total of 123 personnel.

Wildfire smoke produces haze over much of British Columbia and the U.S. Northwest

Above: Satellite photo of smoke from wildfires in the U.S. Northwest and Southern British Columbia, August 5, 2017. The red dots represent heat detected by the satellite.

(Updated at 6:50 p.m. MDT August 5, 2017 to add the more current satellite photo above.)

Smoke from wildfires in Southern British Columbia continues to pour across the border into Washington and other states in the U.S. Northwest. The air quality in Washington is the worst that residents have seen in recent years, reaching unhealthy levels in some areas according to agencies that monitor particulates and other pollutants.

Currently there are 110 active wildfires in British Columbia — four of them are larger than 50,000 hectares (123,000 acres):

  • Hanceville Riske Creek, 148,000 hectares (365,000 acres) approximately 60 km southwest of Williams Lake.
  • Elephant Hill, 110,000 hectares (272,000 acres), near Ashcroft.
  • Tautri Lake, 73,000 hectares (180,000 acres), 80 km northwest of Williams Lake.
  • Baezaeko River-Quesnel West, 55,000 hectares (135,000 acres).

Below is a gallery of maps and graphics showing the location of the fires, air quality, and smoke. Click on an image to see a larger version and start a slide show. Captions are in the top-left corner.

Wildfire smoke produces “unhealthy” conditions in some areas of the US Northwest and British Columbia

Above: The distribution of wildfire smoke, current as of 2:09 p.m. MDT August 3, 2017.

(Originally published at 2:50 p.m. MDT August 3, 2017)

Smoke from wildfires in the United States Northwest and southern British Columbia is accumulating in those areas causing, in some areas, significant degradations in air quality. In British Columbia many massive fires combined with light winds has resulted in the smoke not being transported out of the area.

air quality smoke united states
Air quality August 3, 2017 for western Canada and parts of Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

Some areas in BC, western Montana, and the western portions of Washington and Oregon have “unhealthy” air quality today, according to Air Now.

air quality smoke west canada

Continue reading “Wildfire smoke produces “unhealthy” conditions in some areas of the US Northwest and British Columbia”

Water train assists firefighters on Spromberg Fire in Washington

Above: A BNSF water train assists firefighters on the Spromberg Fire north of Leavenworth, Washington. Screen grab from New Life Channel video.

Firefighters struggled to find enough water to suppress a fire that began Tuesday in a large log deck three miles north of Leavenworth, Washington. A local resident told us that water sources were scarce, the nearest hydrants were miles away, and he counted 13 water tenders at the scene.

The BNSF water train eventually arrived carrying two large railroad cars with many thousands of gallons of water.

The passage of a dry cold front brought winds and long range spotting that spread the fire away from the log deck and across about 40 acres of forest. A Type 3 Incident Management Team assumed command on Wednesday.

Spromberg Fire map
Map showing the location of the Spromberg Fire three miles north of Leavenworth, Washington.
Spromberg Fire water train
A BNSF water train assists firefighters on the Spromberg Fire north of Leavenworth, Washington. Screen grab from Chelan County Fire District video.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Carl.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Rainfall in western states slows wildfire season in many areas

Rainfall last 2 weeks washington oregon
Rainfall last 2 weeks, Washington and Oregon

Rainfall over the last two weeks has slowed or in some cases, ended the wildfire season in some areas.

On October 19 we ran the numbers for the accumulated precipitation for the last 14 days in the western states. These maps show amounts that exceeded 0.05 inches at some of the Interagency Remote Automatic Weather Stations (RAWS).

Washington, Oregon, and northern California have received a good soaking and I would imagine that local fire officials may be declaring an end to the fire season. Of course this is not unusual for these areas this time of the year, and some locations had already seen their season end. But what IS unusual, is the high amount of moisture that occurred in just two weeks.

You can click on the images to see larger versions.

Rainfall last 2 weeks, northern California
Rainfall last 2 weeks, northern California
Rainfall last 2 weeks central California
Rainfall last 2 weeks, central California

Continue to see maps for the other western states.
Continue reading “Rainfall in western states slows wildfire season in many areas”