Smoke finally spread to the point on Friday that the air quality improved to “good”, but that doesn’t mean the numerous forest fires across the northwest of the country have stopped burning.
The Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency ranked air quality directly in the “good” category on Friday morning, which means air pollution is a low risk.
And according to their forecast, there should be blue skies and little smoke for most of the weekend until a late Sunday shift in the wind brings the chance for more smoke.
The improved air quality is a welcome bonus after a red flag warning on Thursday did not cause a new major forest fire in the area, but instead grew some existing forest fires in the northwest of the country.
That Whitmore and Hamilton fire that started on Tuesday due to a lightning strike are included together 4,300 hectares and 0%. The two fires are right next to each other and have grown since Tuesday, and both are near the almost completely contained Chuweah Creek fire near Nespelem, according to Northwest Incident Management Team 12.
It’s in the Colville area too Fire on the summit path continues to be a challenge for the fire brigade. The fire is 28,036 acres and is 20% contained.
Tuesday’s thunderstorm in Washington solved that too Schneider Springs fire northwest of Yakima. The fire was spread Thursday by gusty winds and is now 4,000 acres and 0% contained, according to the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Near, the windy fire is 99 acres and 0% included. Firefighters are having difficulty accessing the fire and it is expected that if the wind continues, it will increase.
That Molybenite and Walker Creek Fires were also triggered by lightning, suggesting Tuesday’s storms ignited nearly 50 fires in northern Washington. The molybenite fire is 55 acres and 70% contained, while the Walker Creek fire is not contained and is 75 acres, according to the Northeast Region Department of Natural Resources.
In southeast Washington that Green Ridge fire is around 14,000 and only contains 15%. Many valuable assets are at risk, according to Umatilla National Forest, including Mill Creek Municipal Watershed, plantation reforestation areas, fragile plants, recreational areas, fisheries, cultural sites, and agricultural and high-quality agricultural land.
In Idaho it is Fire in the Trestle Creek complex near Sandpoint which started in early July is still 0% held and covers 3,450 acres. The firefighters do not expect a complete containment until October.
But the Pioneering fire near Priest River is now 100% contained and will remain on 335 acres.
Finally, that Character Complex fire Coeur d’Alene National Forest contains 30% and 7,516 acres.