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Smoky air to continue midweek

Sun., Sept. 16, 2012

Several large wildfires in Idaho and Washington continued to burn while smoky conditions persisted across the Palouse on Saturday, extending the air quality advisory from the National Weather Service office in Spokane to the middle of the week.

The Sheep fire burning seven miles north of Riggins, Idaho, is 24 percent contained and had burned a total of 24,761 acres as of Saturday evening. Asano Otsu, an information officer speaking about the Sheep fire, said officials have received some calls about whether the smoke is coming from this incident, and she said it had more to do with the weather than the fire.

“The inversion has allowed the smoke to accumulate at lower elevations,” Otsu said. “With this type of typography where there’s canyons and gulches, it takes a lot for the inversion to break, and we just haven’t had that weather change in the last few days (to break it).”

Ty Judd, with the National Weather Service in Spokane, said some smoke was still coming from the Grangeville area fire, but agreed smoke is stagnated in the area because of weak wind activity.

“A nice change in air mass would be great, but there’s just not one coming,” Judd said.

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