Smoke from Williams Flats Fire Impacting Air Quality in WA; Code Red Ozone AQI in Southwestern U.S.

Figure 1. GOES-16 True Color Image for August 5, 2019 23:41 UTC.

NOAA’s Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product reported a region of heavy density smoke observed over portions of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and into North Dakota. The smoke was captured in the GOES-16 and GOES-17 retrievals. The GOES-16 “True Color” (Figure 1) image (courtesy NOAA’s AerosolWatch) from shows the locations and associated smoke plumes with the Williams Flats Fire in Keller, WA. This fire started August 2 after a band of early morning thunderstorms with lightning moved across the eastern portion of the Colville Indian Reservation, as reported by INCIWEB.

The AOD associated with this smoke ranged between 0.2-1 over his region (Figure 2: GOES-17 AOD Composite).

Figure 2. GOES-17 AOD Composite Image (21-24 UTC) for August 5, 2019.
Figure 3. PM2.5 Concentrations from Air Quality Stations in Spokane, WA.

The smoke is impacting the local air quality as shown in the PM2.5 timeseries (Figure 3) from air quality monitoring stations in Spokane, WA (data source: AirNowtech.org). PM2.5 concentrations ranging between 18-128 up/m3 after 2:00 pm PDT (14:00 LST), and is the source of the Code Orange and Yellow AQI (Figure 4, Airnow animation) in the Pacific Northwest.

The rest of the nation experienced for most of the day Code Yellow (Moderate AQI), except locations in Northern Michigan and the Southwestern U.S.. Southwestern Ozone Code Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) AQI levels were fueled by the excessive heat experienced today over the region.

Figure 4. Airnow AQI Animation for August 5, 2019.

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