You know it won’t last.
So far, this has been a special summer without fire and without smoke, but our escape from the smokeless sky is now over.
A rapidly growing fire in northwestern California is pushing smoke north into Oregon and southeast Washington.
The McKinney Fire, which started on July 29 and was initially fueled by strong winds, is now over 51,000 acres and has no cause. The map below shows its location: south of Medford and east of Crescent City Not far from I5.
Yesterday’s satellite image showed smoke from the blaze pushing north into southern Oregon.
NOAA’s excellent HRRR smoke model shows more smoke moving into Washington State at 5 a.m. tomorrow (see below). Hit Portland directly! This is the total smoke in the vertical column.
But fortunately, most of that smoke will be high, as suggested by the smoke concentrations forecast on the surface at the time.
Smoke tends to linger over time, so smoke from distant fires tends to fly high where it has little effect on surface air quality.
We were fortunate that the high winds were generally favorable to protect western Washington. Here are winds at 10,000 ft tomorrow morning. The winds are generally from the southwest through western Washington, bringing in cleaner ocean air.
Finally, today is a bit cooler than Oregon and southern Washington and roughly the same as around Seattle (see 24-hour temperature change below), but tomorrow will drop significantly to the lower 80s .
No more ’90s west of Washington for a while!
But with cooling comes a threat. As western WA begins to cool, strong winds will develop on the eastern slopes of the Cascades, which is significantly demonstrated by the hot dry wind fire index (below). Orange and red indicate great danger.
If you live in eastern WA, please be very, very careful in the next few days– multiple ignition sources can cause a large fire.