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  • Hillary Heard

When will the smoke clear?

Homeowners often ask us where all the smoke is coming from this time of year. Well, that can be a complicated thing to explain. They say North Central Washington has five seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer, Smoke and Fall. I’m sure if you’ve spent anytime outside lately you know which season we’re currently in, you got it, smoke season. Here are some resources we hope might help folks learn a bit more about this.

First thigs first, where are the wildfires located? Those scientists at NASA have a tool to help you locate wildfires throughout the world, visit the Fire Map NASA FIRMS. The FIRMS stands for Fire Information Resource Management System and it’s a global map of satellite fire detections. It’s really an amazing tool for us folks that like to nerd out on maps. If you want information a little closer to home. Check out the Living Atlas map of wildfires in the United States that the folks at ERSI have developed using ArcGIS Online with data from the Integrated Reporting of Wildland-Fire Information (IRWIN) location database and polygon perimeters from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). This is all fancy terms for showing you know where the fires are in the US. The information is updated every 15 minutes, talk about up-to-date!

These tools should help you learn a bit more about the location of wildfire, but what about the smoke? There’s more than one tool that folks use for learning about where wildfire smoke, the Washington Smoke Blog is one that we find helpful as there’s a lot of additional information linked on their website about Air Quality, NOAA weather forecasts, evacuation information. There typically is a daily blog post with useful information as well. Wenatchee has experienced smoke from as far away as Siberia, a fun fact we learned from the smoke blog!

Wildfire smoke can have an impact on your health no matter where it comes from. Our Chelan Douglas Health District has helpful smoke related health information and can help you locate N95 masks distributed in the community. One important site to monitor on smoky days is the EPA AirNow resource that provides update air quality information right down to your zip code. Lastly, If you find yourself needing a temporary air filter for your home, here’s a handy video on how to build your own air filter at home.

The smoke can be overwhelming at times, we hope this information helps clear the air a bit. While you’re here, please check out a couple quick preparedness videos from previous posts a little further down in our blog pages. We also have plenty of leaf bags left. Stop by Station 10 and pick up a few for your fall clean up. They can be disposed of for free at Stemilt Organics.

Stay safe!

Here’s a list of all those links in our blog

Fire Map by NASA FIRMS

Living Atlas map of wildfires

Washington Smoke Blog

EPA AirNow

Chelan Douglas Health District

NY Times Wire Cutter-DIY Air Filter

Cover image: Irving Peak Fire, USDA Forest Service


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