WENATCHEE — The siege of smoke lifted this weekend in the Wenatchee Valley, but may return if winds and rains die down.
After 20 days where air quality has been poor to hazardous, Wenatchee Valley residents are seeing blue skies, said Mark Turner, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Spokane. Light rains over the weekend and steady winds helped clear the smoke, but don’t necessarily mark a change in weather patterns. Air quality Monday was listed as good with a score of 28, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology.
“That wouldn’t necessarily be accurate at this time because there are still chances of us getting more summer weather throughout the season,” Turner said.
There are several large fires still burning close by and in British Columbia, he said. Until a heavy rain occurs, a chance remains for the smoke to return.
"There is just so much (smoke) out there that we’re going to be in and out of it,” Turner said. “But the conditions we just experienced and the forecast is more good than bad rather than more bad than good.”
Over the next few days temperatures will climb back up into the high 80s, he said. But light winds will continue to blow out of the northwest at 10 to 15 mph. There is no rain in the forecast.
Andrew Wineke, Washington State Department of Ecology spokesman, said the amount of smoke in Washington state for this time of year has been abnormal.
But while the smoke has cleared in Leavenworth and Wenatchee on Monday it was unhealthy in Plain near where the fire is burning.
“Each little valley can just sort of trap things so the conditions just one valley over can be very different,” Wineke said.
It isn’t unusual for fire season in the Wenatchee Valley to continue into September, he said. There is a good chance that the smoke could return to the area.
“Until we get some good rains to kind of douse things we will continue to knock on wood here,” Wineke said.
Tony Buhr: 509-664-7123
Buhr@wenatcheeworld.com or on Twitter @TonyBuhr