Some areas in the Northwest have “unhealthy” air quality

The primary cause is smoke from wildfires

Air Quality Index smoke
Air Quality Index, August 21, 2018. AirNow.gov

Smoke from wildfires continues to plague areas of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. According to AirNow.gov, the five cities in the United States with the worst air quality Tuesday were:

  • Cheeka Peak, Seattle-Bellevue-Kent Valley, and Bellingham in Washington;
  • Yreka, California; and
  • Shady Cove, Oregon.

The information below from the National Weather Service reinforces the advice that the least expensive dust masks available at the local hardware store (or a bandana tied over your face) provide almost no protection from smoke. The microscopic particles in smoke from vegetation fires are so small that they cruise right through a mask that may work fine for filtering out dust from working with wood, for example.  As they said, choose a mask called a “particulate respirator” that has the word “NIOSH” and either “N95” or “P100” printed on it.

map wildfire smoke
The forecast for the distribution of smoke from wildfires at 6 p.m. MDT August 21, 2018.
Red Flag Warnings, August 21, 2018
Red Flag Warnings, August 21, 2018.

Wildfire smoke and Red Flag Warnings, August 14, 2018

The map above shows the prediction for the distribution of wildfire smoke at 6 p.m. MDT August 14, 2018. It looks like it is going to be pretty rough today in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and parts of Northern California.

Red Flag Warnings are below.

Red Flag Warnings
Red Flag Warnings, August 14, 2018.

Fire weather watches and warnings in 9 states, August 11, 2018

And, 9 states will have areas of dense wildfire smoke Saturday

Above: Red Flag Warnings (red) and Fire Weather Watches (yellow) for Saturday August 11, 2018.

The map below shows the forecast for the distribution of wildfire smoke at 6 p.m. MDT August 11, 2018.

Forecast distribution of wildfire smoke
Forecast for the distribution of wildfire smoke at 6 p.m. MDT August 11, 2018

Wildfire smoke forecast and Red Flag Warnings

Above is the forecast for the distribution of smoke from wildfires at 6 p.m. MDT August 5, 2018. It looks like the air will be pretty nasty in areas of California, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The map below shows the Red Flag Warnings in effect for Sunday, August 5 in portions of California, Utah, and Wyoming.

Red Flag Warnings, August 5, 2018
Red Flag Warnings, August 5, 2018.