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Onshore flow brings relief from wildfire smoke’s impact on air quality in Whatcom County

AirNow Air Quality Map as of 5am on September 12, 2022.

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — National Weather Service forecasters in the Seattle office said early Sunday, September 11th, that a transition to back to an onshore flow was already beginning and was expected to increase during the remainder of the day. This stopped the flow of wildfire smoke from the east as well as push out smoke already in the area.

An air quality alert issued by the Northwest Clean Air Agency expired at 6pm yesterday.

As of 5am this morning, air quality conditions were reported in the MODERATE range by air monitoring stations in Bellingham and Maple Falls. This is much improved over yesterday morning’s reporting of UNHEALTHY.

Bellingham air quality reported as of 5am (September 12, 2022)
Maple Falls/Columbia Valley air quality reported as of 5am (September 12, 2022)
W Lynden/Custer air quality reported as of 6am (September 11, 2022)

Sunrises and sunsets could continue to continue to be striking for a day or 2 while a south-southwest flow in the upper atmosphere is expected to pull some smoke northward from Oregon. This is not expected to impact surface level air quality.

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Low air quality has mostly been the result of wildfire smoke from the Goat Rocks Fire (White Pass/US Highway 12) southeast of Mount Rainier and the Bolt Creek Fire (Stevens Pass/US Highway 2). Dry and windy Red Flag conditions have resulted in these becoming very active fires with immediate evacuation orders being issued around both.

Recent air quality hourly reports

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