Thursday afternoon readings at air-quality monitoring stations in Shelton, Lacey, Tacoma and Kent all edged over 100, which triggers an advisory for infants, children, seniors and those with lung and heart disease to limit their outdoor activity.
“It could be late Friday or Saturday before we start to see some improvement,” said Jimmy Werner, an air-quality specialist with the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency.
State and local firefighters massed at lightning-caused wildfires from last weekend that stretched from the Canada border to the Columbia River on the state’s east side. Meanwhile, fire danger in Western Washington remained critically high as temperatures reached back into the 80s Thursday in many areas.
The National Weather Service in Seattle issued a red-flag warning for much of Western Washington on Thursday, which signals critical fire-weather conditions including low humidity, strong winds and high temperatures. It means if a wildfire were to ignite in the region, it could grow rapidly.
Weather forecasters expected to lift the red-flag warning Thursday night for the area south of Everett and the eastern Olympics, but keep it in effect until early Friday evening on the western slopes of the central and north Cascades.
The Cascade Creek Fire on the south slope of Mount Adams appeared to be delivering the most smoke to Southwest Washington on Thursday, Department of Natural Resources spokesman Bob Redling noted. By Thursday afternoon, the fire had spread to 2,150 acres and attracted a firefighting crew of 485. Containment of the fire was listed as “zero.”