SEATTLE — If you think you're seeing haze from wildfire smoke in mid-May, you're not imagining things. Wildfire smoke from Canada moved into Washington state Wednesday morning and is forecast to stick around through the remainder of the week.
Large wildfires burning in Alberta, Canada paired with a weather pattern favorable to carrying wildfire smoke into the Pacific and Inland Northwest have developed. This weather pattern will keep wildfire smoke around the region through the end of the week, creating hazy skies and filtered sunshine along with colorful sunrises and sunsets.
At this time, it appears most of the wildfire smoke will stay aloft, higher in the atmosphere, not creating a widespread impact on the air quality at the surface for areas west of the Cascades. This will continue to be closely monitored over the next 72 hours for any subtle changes that could bring more smoke down to the surface.
The current forecast keeps most of the smoke aloft and the air quality forecast overall Thursday stays in the good category west of the Cascades. Areas in eastern Washington are forecast to dip into the unhealthy for sensitive groups category Thursday.
Thursday air quality forecast
Because of more wildfire smoke mixing down to the surface in central and eastern Washington, reducing air quality, an Air Quality Alert is in effect through Saturday morning for north central and eastern Washington.
Air Quality Alert
The last time Seattle and western Washington saw wildfire smoke was last October when the air quality dipped into the unhealthy category for some areas.