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Ford Corkscrew Fire quickly degrades Spokane’s air quality

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On Tuesday, August 17, 2021, winds unexpectedly shifted and quickly brought smoke from the Ford Corkscrew Fire into the Spokane area. Within an hour, air quality degraded from Moderate/Yellow to Unhealthy/Red. During this time, the peak hourly reading was 194 at the Augusta and Fiske monitoring site.

Fortunately, the smoke impact was short-lived. The unhealthy air lasted only about five hours until air quality returned to Moderate/Yellow. It was, however, a reminder that it is important to be prepared as conditions can rapidly change.

Air quality forecast

Today’s (Wednesday, August 18) forecast expects the cool moist weather to help slow fire activity while northeast winds clear out most of last night’s smoke. Although conditions could change, especially with wildfires nearby, current information suggests that air quality should remain Good/Green for most of Wednesday but might reach well into Moderate/Yellow at times on Thursday.

Summary of smoke impacts for 2021

As of Wednesday, August 18, Spokane has experienced seven days above the air quality health-based standard for PM2.5 (smoke).

  • 8/14/2021: Unhealthy/Red with an AQI of 163
  • 8/13/2021: Unhealthy/Red with an AQI of 183
  • 8/12/2021: Unhealthy/Red with an AQI of 163
  • 8/3/2021: Unhealthy/Red with an AQI of 162
  • 8/2/2021: Unhealthy/Red with an AQI of 176
  • 8/1/2021: Unhealthy/Red with an AQI 155
  • 7/31/2021: Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups/Orange with an AQI of 146

For addition information and tips to prepare, visit our wildfire smoke webpage.

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