WENATCHEE — An inversion that trapped smoke and caused unhealthy breathing conditions across much of North Central Washington on Monday was expected to lift today.
But the incoming storm system responsible for the change also brings with it the possibility of gusty winds, heavy rain, hail, lightning and possibly flooding.
The National Weather Service issued several warnings and advisories for hazardous weather conditions through at least Wednesday afternoon and possibly the end of the week.
In addition, bans on outdoor burning have been expanded to include all state Department of Natural Resources lands and all Washington State Parks.
The U.S. Forest Service firefighters working to corral several NCW fires were given a heads-up to be prepared for just about any weather Tuesday, fire officials said.
Rain was falling over some of the fires by mid morning. Most of the blazes burning actively across the region continue to grow but have not made any significant runs in several days.
On Tuesday, small spot fires were detected and some fires burned outside of containment lines. But all the fire activity was quickly checked by helicopters and retardant drops, fire officials said. As a precaution, low-level evacuation advisories around the Hansel Fire in the Blewett Pass corridor were expanded to cover Highway 97 between and including Old Blewett Highway and Camas Road. The area was expanded because of expected thunderstorm-related winds, said Hansel Fire spokesman Rick Acosta. The fire spotted south of Ingalls Creek but that spread has been contained.
The only fire that grew considerably on Monday was the Duncan Fire in the Entiat Valley, where crews were preparing to do burnout operations from Shady Pass Road on Tuesday.