Yuck! Fire Smoke = Terrible Air Quality

6pm Monday…

Central Oregon is generally known for clear skies and good air quality, but not on Sunday!  Take a look at the Bend DEQ station’s air quality for the past 6 days.  Looked great until Saturday night; that’s when the wind died down and the smoke settled down into the lower areas.


Those numbers are the peak for each day, and for both Sunday and today the peak was in the late night and early morning hours.

Good news short-term in the fire weather forecast is that we don’t expect hot weather, lightning, or real high winds.  In fact it’ll be quite cool in that area west of Bend Thursday and Friday; high temps only in the 60s.  The bad news long-term is that the southern half of the state is extremely dry and well ahead of “fire season schedule”.

I think it’s going to be a long summer for firefighters in the Pacific Northwest.  Everything seems to be pointing to at least average temperatures for the summer and many indications are for warmer than average as I mentioned in an earlier posting a couple weeks ago.

In the short-term, models are giving us an upper level trough on Thursday/Friday and possibly another Sunday.  Neither appears to be a significant rain producer, even here in Northwest Oregon.  Here’s the 10 day ECMWF rain forecast showing less than 1/2″ rain in the lower elevations of Western Oregon.


The 16 day 12z GFS model showed less than 1″ as well, more like 1/2″ to 3/4″ for most of us.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

13 Responses to Yuck! Fire Smoke = Terrible Air Quality

  1. schmit44 says:

    6/10/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:88 at LAKE OWHEE AND O(2400 ft) & Ontario Municipa(2188 ft)
    Low: 63 at Rye Valley(I-84(2230 ft) & Brookings Airpor(459 ft)

    High:49 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: 22 at FISH CREEK (7900 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 48 degrees
    MAZAMA (74/26 ) (4596 ft )

  2. WEATHERDAN says:

    After the big Arctic blast and snowstorm in early February of this year Salem failed to hit at least 50 only four times. All of those days were 49 and the last one occurred on March 1. Since The first of March it has been warmer than normal most of the time. The next 16 days look to be on the warm but not hot side. That takes us out until the end of June. By the time October arrives we will probably be glad for some cooler weather. Sunny and 70 at 1:00 PM in Salem. Headed toward the mid to high 70,s again.

  3. Jason Hougak says:

    I’m thinking the Sierra’s are going to get pounded with snow this winter!

  4. chiefWright (Marquam) says:

    The scariest bit about that chart is California. Nothing in sight down there, and they’re already parched. They’ve experience drought before, but given the latest supply and demand, this is verging on a paradigm change.

    • Boydo3 N. Albany says:

      And they are the single biggest provider of this country’s food. And so much of it depends on irrigation.

    • chiefWright (Marquam) says:

      Yep. I expect food prices, especially meat & dairy, to shoot way up this year. I know several folks who expect dairy Alfalfa to be selling over $400/ton FOB. Last we paid was $320/ton delivered.

  5. KatRN says:

    Mark, I have been wondering if your family were our neighbors way back when. Your home would have been on Murray Rd., and our home was on Butner Rd. We were a family of five girls, and I actually remember babysitting for you and your sister Amy (if this is indeed who I am thinking of). Our backyards were back to back, and we used to go thru a hole in the fence to play. Please do not think that I am a crazy person, I was just curious. You do resemble the young Mark Nelson that I remember. My maiden name is Shininger….kind of hard to forget 🙂

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      It wasn’t me, we never lived on the west side of Portland. Now there is a Mark Nelson (with an O) that lives in Beaverton, he came up and talked to me at a live location once.

  6. marinersfan85 says:

    Warm bias!

  7. W7ENK says:

    I hope they can get that fire contained quickly! A little early yet…

    • High Desert Mat says:

      6800 acres and 5% contained right now. But they have lines set up both south and east of the fire. Pretty windy right now at my place and I can see the smoke plumes from my living room window. I believe its about 9 miles from me.

    • chiefWright (Marquam) says:

      I suspect containment will be swift, this early in the season with crews available and fresh. Late August might be a different story.

      Geeze, I’m sure a pessimist tonight..

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Late August might certainly be a different story for sure considering alot of the resources could be down in California by that time or scattered throughout the west. Fingers crossed.

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