Ash from wildfires in Central Washington sprinkled the Seattle area on Tuesday, 5 September 2017, including on this car in Bitter Lake. Photo: Benjamin Woodard / The Seattle Times

By Evan Bush
5 September 2017

(The Seattle Times) – Ash fell like snow in Seattle Tuesday morning as Washington’s wildfires sent plumes of smoke into the atmosphere.

It was so thick that dispatchers serving Eastside Fire Rescue received concerned calls about smoke in the area and ash settling on cars.

“There is no local fire,” reported the firefighters, who serve the Issaquah, North Bend and Carnation areas. “If you do see flames, please report it to 911 and crews will check it out.”

In the Seattle area, Tuesday will likely see record-breaking heat, said Art Gaebel, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Highs were expected to rise into the 90s, he said, though, “It’s kind of tricky to forecast highs with the smoke in the area.”

The record for this day at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is 88 degrees, Gaebel said.

Insulated by clouds of smoke, overnight temperatures never dipped below 71 degrees at Sea-Tac, making for an uncomfortable night for the 85 percent of Seattleites without air conditioning.

Haze covered the state from corner to corner, satellite images showed. [Desdemona can confirm that Seattle is covered in smoky haze, and the sunlight has an eerie orange cast.] […]

The morning sun glows orange as a think, smoky haze from wildfires settles on Seattle, 5 September 2017. Photo: James P. Galasyn

The Eagle Creek Fire is now burning on both sides of the Columbia River Gorge in Washington and Oregon.

The fire spread Monday as afternoon and evening winds pushed flames west across the steep flanks of the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, causing mandatory evacuations that included the communities of Dodson, Warrendale, Latoruell and Bridal Veil. The fire closed Interstate 84 from milepost 17 outside of Portland to Exit 62 by Hood River, as well as railroad traffic on that side. It also burned close to the Bonneville Dam.

Fire behavior was dramatic, with big swaths of timber set ablaze in matter of minutes. Embers carried by the winds were creating spot fires as much as 3/4 of a mile away from the main blaze, according to a statement released by fire information officers. [more]

Ash falls like snow in Seattle as wildfires rage in Pacific Northwest

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