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News / Clark County News

Wind flushes wildfire haze from Southwest Washington

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer
Published: August 21, 2023, 6:01pm

Southwest Washington’s weekend haze of wildfire smoke and red sun disappeared Monday afternoon as wind flushed out the area.

Relief came days after much of Washington was blanketed with smoke during the weekend, which drifted from wildfires in British Columbia, the Cascade Mountains and Eastern Washington.

The National Weather Service in Portland said Monday that an onshore flow of air from the Pacific Ocean will prevent dense smoke from lingering in the region in the near future.

The Air Quality Index, a scale that measures air pollution, showed central Vancouver was “moderate” on Saturday, or 62 out of 100, according to the Southwest Clean Air Agency. As of Monday afternoon, Vancouver’s air was “good,” an index ranging between zero and 50.

A reading over 100 is unhealthy for sensitive groups, or those who have preexisting health conditions like heart or lung disease.

Areas where fires ravaged landscapes and destroyed hundreds of structures continue to face unhealthy air, particularly in Eastern Washington, according to the air agency. However, the onshore flow is projected to improve air quality.

To view live air quality reports, visit www.swcleanair.gov/burning/airquality.asp and wa.smokeblogspot.com. A summary of wildfires in the region can be found on the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center’s website, www.gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

Columbian staff writer