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Much of the Northwest east of the Cascades has unhealthy air

Northwest Smoke Blog screenshot
The red markers on the Northwest Smoke Blog show unhealthy air throughout the region.

Some pockets are in better shape.

The air quality east of the Cascades is generally unhealthy, thanks to smoke wafting from wildfires around the region.

The Northwest Smoke Blog shows moderate pockets in central Washington around Brewster and the Methow Valley. The air is a little worse in the Okanogan. The region from the Colville Reservation east through the Idaho Panhandle is firmly in the unhealthy category, though slightly better near Colville. Western Washington is mostly in the moderate range.

The National Weather Service has issued an air quality alert for much of far eastern Washington and north Idaho.

Monday’s forecast calls for partly sunny and smoky skies with a slight chance of rain or thundershowers in northeastern Washington. Highs in the upper 70s to mid 80s.

Continued smoky and hazy Monday night into Tuesday with a slight chance of thundershowers. Lows in the 40s and 50s.

Sunny and hazy Tuesday morning, starting to clear out in the afternoon. Highs in the upper 70s to mid 80s. Much of the region will have a slight chance of rain Tuesday into Tuesday evening before giving way to mostly sunny skies on Wednesday and throughout the rest of the week.

Fire officials estimate about 400,000 acres in the Northwest are on fire or have been recently charred. That includes nearly 20,000 acres up in Boundary County, though those fires are at rather low intensities and moving slowly. About 350 people are up there working what is known as the Kootenai River Complex. Crews are close to containing the Seven Bays Fire in Lincoln County. It’s holding steady at about 1,200 acres and much of the work there is in the mop up category. About 500 people are doing the slow work of extinguishing the Boulder Mountain Fire in Pend Oreille County. It has consumed about two thousand acres. Much of the new fire activity is in the north Cascades and south central Washington. The Bold Creek fire about 40 miles east of Seattle, near the Wild Sky Wilderness area, is threatening hundreds of homes. It has burned about 7,500 acres. A little northeast of that fire, the Irving Peak fire, has burned nearly six thousand acres. It’s only threatening one home. Fire teams have nearly contained one fire burning near the Idaho-Oregon border about 50 miles from Lewiston.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.