Heavy Smoke Returns to Seattle as Wildfires Burn

The largest of a dozen fires in the state has burned more than 95,000 acres.

A hazy red sun this morning was caused by wildfires. Andy Nystrom/ Redmond Reporter

Heavy smoke and falling ash returned to the Puget Sound this week as several large wildfires burn across the Northwest and into Montana.

As of Tuesday, the largest fire in the state was the Diamond Creek Fire, which is burning north of Mazama and crossed the border into Canada on Aug. 29.

According to the government fire monitoring website Inciweb, the fire had consumed 95,000 acres and was 65 percent contained.

Closer to home is the Jolly Mountain Fire, which was started after a lightning strike on Aug. 11 and is burning in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The fire has led to level 3 evacuations in parts of Kittitas County near the fire, and the towns of Ronald and Roslyn have been put under level 2 evacuations. The fire has burned more than 20,000 acres and helped prompt Gov. Jay Inslee last Saturday to proclaim a state of emergency across the state. This allowed for the mobilization of the National Guard to help in firefighting efforts. More than 700 personnel are currently fighting the fire.

Ten other fires were reported in the state on Inciweb and have contributed to the poor air quality and falling ash on Tuesday. Air quality in Puget Sound, according to the WaSmoke blog, was generally rated as moderate, while portions of eastern Washington were ranked as significantly less healthy. People who are sensitive to smoke, such as children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions were advised to limit their exposure and refrain from heavy exertion.

A quick-moving fire known as the Eagle Creek Fire jumped the Columbia River on Tuesday, reaching into southern Washington, according to The Columbian.

A group of around 100 hikers was also rescued after being stranded by the fire Eagle Creek Fire in Oregon, the Everett Herald reported.

The largest active fire reported on Inciweb was the Lodgepole Complex in Montana. Although it was reported to be 93 percent contained as of Tuesday, it had burned more than 270,000 acres. The next largest was in Oregon and is called the Chetco Bar Fire. It started after a lightning strike in July and has burned more than 167,000 acres and is only 5 percent contained.

These fires come after smoke from large fires in British Columbia caused severe smoke to flood Washington state earlier this summer.

According to the Everett Herald, the worst fire season Washington had was in 2015, when a record 15,800 square miles of land in the state burned.

news@seattleweekly.com

More in News & Comment

About 80 people gathered on Tuesday afternoon in support of Maru Mora-Villalpando, who entered deportation proceedings earlier this year. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
A Seattle Battle of Deportation Vs. Freedom of Information

While facing deportation, Maru Mora-Villalpando has been denied public ICE documents that allegedly show widespread targeting of immigrant rights organizers.

Most of the tenants at show cause hearings have fallen behind on rent, said Housing Justice Project Managing Attorney Edmund Witter. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
The Last Stop Before Homelessness

How the odds are stacked against low-income tenants in the County’s eviction court system.

This petroleum refinery in Anacortes is run by Shell, one of the defendants in the suit brought by King County. Photo by Walter Siegmund/Wikipedia Commons
Can King County Win Its Lawsuit Against Big Oil?

Legal experts think past lawsuits against the tobacco industry increase the odds for a favorable outcome.

Beth Knowles is the Mayoral Lead for Homelessness and Rough Sleeping at Greater Manchester Mayor’s Office. Photo by Candace Doyal
Beth Knowles Discusses the U.K. Tackling Homelessness Through Art

During her Seattle visit, the head of Manchester’s homelessness task force talked about creative solutions to the global problem.

Low Numbers of Lake Sammamish Kokanee Raise Fears of Extinction

Only 19 kokanee salmon returned to spawn this year.

Photo courtesy King County Elections
Governor and Secretary of State to Fund Statewide Prepaid Ballot Postage

King County, however, won’t get any of that money.

The Neighborhood Action Coalition and Transit Riders Union projected its support of the head tax on May 10, 2018. Photo by Jennifer Durham/Flickr
Seattle City Council Passes Reduced Head Tax

The measure decreases the original proposal by 45 percent, leaving some to question if it’ll raise enough to properly address homelessness.

Illustration by James the Stanton
How Many Drug-Sniffing Dogs Will Be Killed By Cannabis Legalization?

Spoiler: None. It just turns out an Illinois police department is full of doggone liars.

Most Read