Environment
Wildfire smoke blankets the Wenatchee area at sunset recently.
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Wildfire smoke blankets the Wenatchee area at sunset recently.
Credit: KUOW photo/Eilis O'Neill

'Wait until the snow flies' for this fire season to end


Air quality in the Puget Sound region cleared up over the weekend, but it’s forecast to return this week.

What’s happening with the wildfires that are causing all that smoke? KUOW’s Angela King spoke with Anna King of the Northwest News Network.

Angela King: Smoke has been a problem in Seattle. What about over in Richland where you are?

Anna King: We have some pretty clear air. That's a welcome change after last week when it was really toxic to even get between a car and a parking lot of a grocery store last week. We've actually had some rain in Pendleton, Spokane and Ellensburg, which has cleared up the air a little. We're going to see a little bit of a downgrade of our air quality this week, but it doesn't look like it's going to be anything like we saw last week.

So which fires are still causing smoke problems?

British Columbia is sending a lot of fire smoke down along the coast and into western Washington. And over in eastern Washington we have the Crescent Mountain fire near Chelan and Twisp. That fire is at 42,000 acres, and there are still mandatory evacuations in part of the Twisp River Valley. So it really is still a very high priority incident and they're not really sure when that's all going to be over.

And we're still in the thick of wildfire season here in our state. What can we expect for the rest of the year?

A common saying around here is “wait until the snow flies.” And so a lot of these fires that we're seeing now might burn on until we have our winter. The more rain that we have in the fall the better off we’ll be as long as it doesn't come with lightning, and we just have to wait until the winter to get that really clean crisp air that we've all been dreaming of.