Thick Fire Smoke Is Back; But It Keeps The Heat Away

9:30am Tuesday

It’s back! For the first time since last summer’s Eagle Creek Fire,  the Portland metro area is basking in thick low-level fire smoke. This type of smoke with lowered visibility is what SW Oregon has been dealing with for a month!  Here’s a pic from Andrew Mork


Air quality is in the UNHEALTHY category across the Portland metro area and Columbia River Gorge this morning.


Up until this point we’ve only seen smoke high overhead. Easterly wind has brought smoke from Eastern Washington down into our area. It should clean out quite a bit tomorrow with a switch back to westerly wind. Air quality sensors from Oregon DEQ show UNHEALTHY air over us right now due to those smoke particles. Notice it only extends into the metro area with cleaner air down in the Willamette Valley.

The easterly flow this morning is the strongest we have seen since June.  Wind has been gusting up around 40 mph the past few hours at Crown Point in the western Gorge and Corbett was just about the warmest place in the metro area last night…only briefly dipping into the upper 60s due to mixing from the wind.

The wind goes back to westerly at low levels tomorrow which should clear us out quite a bit, but we’ll still be left with all the high level smoke as we’ve seen the past few days.  Fires are burning north of us in Canada, northern Washington, and to our south in SW Oregon.  It’s hard to get out of the smoke until flow goes westerly at all levels; we’ll likely not get totally out of it until Friday west of the Cascades.  Note the HRRR experimental smoke model forecast for Wednesday afternoon has the entire Pacific Northwest bathed in a smoke layer of some sort.  Click the image for a loop


The one HUGE benefit is that the smoke layer is going to keep temperatures well below what we would typically see with this airmass.  We have easterly offshore flow plus an 850mb temp of +20 on the morning sounding at Salem.  Models are forecasting +22 by this afternoon.  Under blue skies I would forecast a high of 100 this afternoon.  I think 90-93 is more likely due to the smoke…hot, but nothing crazy hot.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

54 Responses to Thick Fire Smoke Is Back; But It Keeps The Heat Away

  1. W7ENK says:

    Unexpected thunderstorms now popping over the Coast Range between Newport and Woodburn, moving North.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Have you read the NWS Area Forecast Discussion? Interesting reading for next week 🤔

  2. Boring Rain says:

    It spit some big drops for about 5 minutes about an hour and a half ago.

  3. W7ENK says:

    This morning’s AFD for Southern Oregon mentions a more westward push to this evening’s thunderstorm threat, could translate farther North, I suppose.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      I also heard that if we have thunderstorms, they could be high based which means limited precipitation. We wouldn’t necessarily be able to see them on radar. There was a shower that came through about 30 minutes ago but it didn’t rain. It was just verga. Let’s see how this afternoon and evening turns out 😉

      • W7ENK says:

        Radar also showed a decent cell over Molalla around Noon, no idea if any of that rain made it to the ground. There’s definitely some isolated instability on this side of the mountains. Things could get interesting once the sun goes down, if and when the CAP breaks. The last thing we need — anywhere — is dry lightning.

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          That was the cell that came up my way. It missed me (most of it hit just south/southeast of me). I agree with you about the dry lightning. That would make things worse for fires. If we do get any thunderstorms, let’s hope they rain with them.

  4. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I’m outside now. It’s hard to tell if there are clouds because of all the haze but I do see some and they look like they have some lift to them. 🤗

  5. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I see stuff popping up on the radar 🙂

  6. Roland Derksen says:

    The sky has turned from a dirty white to a milky blue colour here, so that ‘s an improvement. Also feels a bit cooler, but the heat and smoke are coming back this weekend.

  7. Andy says:

    Woke up to 52 deg cloudy and dew on the cars here in Albany. I remember football practice, daily doubles back in the mid 80’s with smoke and ash falling during the practices. It was very hot and smokey down here in the Albany area years ago in the 80’s and early 90’s. I think sometimes we forget how it was in the past here in the valley years ago.

  8. W7ENK says:


    Man, it’s just like you folks here on the blog sometimes…

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      Ha. The grass would have to be brown and the trees dying and wildfire smoke in the air and birds staying sheltered from the mid-day heat for it to be a representation of our reality this summer.

    • Boring Rain says:

      That’s pretty unfair.

  9. Jason Hougak says:

    What’s up with Marks title…
    Thick fire smoke is back but it keeps the heat away?
    It was 94 where I worked today and was sweating bullets and had headache from breathing all this nasty pollution and smoke. I guess 90’s isn’t heat anymore🙄

  10. Boring Rain says:

    Maple trees are turning.

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      Yep. They are in survival mode. Gonna drop their leaves way early. Soooo many dead and dying trees around town. It’s sad.

  11. What can we do about smokers who habitually keep throwing their ciggerette buts in the grass nearly causing fires?

    If we catches on video or in the act will the police do anything?

    • Mike says:

      While a young girl passed me on a double yellow, she was half way back in the lane when she threw a lit cigarette butt out the window. It was extremely dry fire conditions with forest land everywhere. I followed her home and waited till she got in the house, then went up and knocked on the door and her mother came out and I tattled the whole story. Her mom said she would take care of it.
      That was the best I could do for that situation.

    • W7ENK says:

      All you need is a license plate number. Call it in to the police/fire department, they’ll take care of it. If a fire is ignited, the driver of that vehicle will be held liable, both civilly and criminally.

  12. boydo3 says:

    90 deg. with smoke vs. 100 deg. under clear skies…
    I’d take the clear 100 deg. day , hands down.

  13. Boring Rain says:

    Nice day!

  14. Jason Hougak says:

    We have had the flip… I’m ready for the flop… flop of snow flakes on the windshield🤣

  15. The smoke is nasty up this way, too. Visibility is down to only a mile or two today.

  16. Wonder when models will start factoring smoke into the surface temp equation. This is year two of significant smoke.

  17. Does the smoke effect the intakes of an air conditioner? Or would it filter most of the particles out before it comes in the house?

    • Diana F. says:

      I looked it up and I read that it’s a good idea TO use an ac when there’s smoke outside!

    • W7ENK says:

      Yes, the filter should take out a majority of the particulates. The smoke may not be entirely filtered out, but it’s certainly going to be better than nothing at all.

      • alohabb says:

        It won’t effect the A/c. If you open your doors and windows, then the particles can get in the air , but I suggest turning the fan to “ON” on your furnace to help filter the air and change your filter.

        I do this for a living so this is nothing new.

  18. Paul D says:

    Just hit 90 at PDX. #28 is in the bag.

  19. W7ENK says:

    Took a weekend jaunt deep into Central Oregon. Air quality wasn’t bad on Saturday, the smoke progressively cleared up throughout the day with a stiff S to SW-ly wind. Kept the temperature down too, so it was quite pleasant. It was almost crystal clear on Sunday, though it dropped to 38 where we were camping overnight, so that was pretty chilly.

    Saturday evening’s sunset over Christmas Valley was a sight to behold, quite spectacular! Oh, and the stars…

    Enjoy! 🙂

  20. alohabb says:

    Smells like smoke. yuck

  21. thechinster says:

    Loving this heat wave. 😍 Oregon is the new California 😊 I’m ok with 90s all summer as long as there is no rain. 👍 Keep it up mother nature! That rain was way too depressing. I only see complaints about the sun. It’s summer people. You’ll get your rain in the fall.

  22. Jason Hougak says:

    No more complaints about unending rain/ snow this weather sucks!

  23. Roland Derksen says:

    I suppose it’s just wishcasting, but I’m expecting a significant rain here sometime in the second half of August. It doesn’t happen every year (or every other year), but I keep thinking about it. I’m not predicting a record amount- just a good soaker,perhaps close to the Labour Day weekend. 🙂

  24. Ken in Wood Village says:

    This is for “W7ENK” when you talk about LI, what is the best? Positive or Negative? Just wondering.

  25. Ken in Wood Village says:

    It reminds me to much of the Eagle Creek fire. I guess one thing that’s better is the fact we are not having ash falling from the sky. I’ll be happy when we start getting weather systems coming in and scouring out all the smoke. This haze/smoke is very depressing 😦 First

    • K says:

      Third, how are you doing, Ken? Terrible smoke, think I’ll have a birds-eye view of the fires when I fly in on Thursday…

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        Hey K, I’m doing good how are you? Just having post traumatic stress from all the smoke. It just reminds me to much of the Eagle Creek fire last year. I know there are no fires around us but it still stresses me out.

        I still think after we have the HOT weather next week we could start seeing some what normal temps. I have been seeing a little trend on the models which leads me to believe we won’t seeing long durations of 90+ degrees. But I could be wrong. It’s just a gut feeling. 🙂

        • K says:

          I’m great Ken, thank you for asking!

          But wait a sec, by hot, do you mean in the 90s or potentially 100+? I hope your hunch is right, we need some relief for this wildfire season….

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          I think we could see a day or two over 90 but nothing like what we have been having were we have 3+ days over 90. I think we could be past that now. I looked at the GFS and the 100+ degrees it had on Monday are not there anymore. I’m waiting for the Euro to come out to see if it is going with the GFS.

          I see it’s getting cooler North of Alaska a lot now. Let the wish casting begin….lol 🙂

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