That haze on the horizon isn’t just from the heat—it’s smoke from a fire just east of the Mt. Hood.
Easterly winds have spread a fire burning in the northeast corner of the Warm Springs Reservation and blown some smoke into the Portland area.
It’s not necessary to break out your air filter just yet, though. Some areas around Warm Springs and in the Willamette Valley are currently rated moderate on the Air Quality Index, meaning smoke particles could cause minor health issue for people unusually sensitive to pollution. But all of Portland is currently rated as “Good,” the cleanest rating on the AQI.
According to the Portland branch of the National Weather Service, the worst of the smoke rolled in over the weekend. This morning, light winds began pushing the smoke back eastward. Tonight will see an even more pronounced shift.
“We’re expecting more westerly flow to push it back east,” says Miles Higa, a meteorologist for NWS.
That’s good news for the heat, too. Those same winds will bring a short reprieve from the current heat wave, bringing temperatures down to the 80s for the next few days. This weekend, though, Portlanders can expect even hotter temperatures, with highs cracking 100 and relatively warm lows in the 60s.
“We’re used to getting that relief overnight,” says Higa. “But we’re looking at not much relief this weekend.”
Though Portland’s minor amounts smoke should clear up soon, other parts of the state are already grappling with severe fires.
As of this morning, the fire on the Warm Springs Reservation is 6,200 acres and is zero percent contained. In Klamath County, where there’s a historic drought crisis, Chiloqiun residents were placed under a Level 3 evacuation order this afternoon and urged to leave immediately as the Cuttoff wildfire continues to spread.