This summer’s extreme heat is going to continue well into next week along with smoky skies. Highs should be in the 90s through at least Thursday.
National Weather Service forecasters are calling for highs in Spokane of around 98 degrees on Friday with triple-digit heat likely in some areas.
Spokane International Airport on Thursday had a high of 95 while Felts Field near Millwood went to 97.
Smoky skies continue to cover the region. The Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency measured the pollution in the moderate range on Thursday.
The smoke concentration was 92 on the air quality index, which is below the 100-point threshold for pollution that is unhealthy for persons with lung and other medical issues. The forecast for Friday calls for smoke pollution in the 100-plus range on the index.
A massive ridge of high air pressure has moved over the region, allowing extreme heat to migrate northward.
But a weather disturbance moving south from Alberta, Canada, late on Friday is going to stir up some wind and create a drop in temperatures for Saturday and Sunday.
However, highs are still expected to reach the lower to middle 90s both days.
Forecasters on line Thursday said, “Numerous fires burning in Canada and up in extreme northern Washington and North Idaho. The smoke from those fires will continue to be pushed into Eastern Washington and North Idaho.”
Fires are also burning in the mountains of Western Montana and they are spreading smoke throughout the region.
The smoke has affected Western Washington and Oregon as well.
The weather service has posted an air quality alert for Eastern Washington and North Idaho and a heat advisory for the western Columbia Basin. Walla Walla and Yakima valleys.
A red flag warning for extreme fire danger was posted for Friday in the Okanogan and Methow valleys, both of which were ravaged by fires in recent years. Also, the Cascades are in the warning area. Winds could gust to 25 mph.
On his popular weather blog at cliffmass.blogspot.com/, meteorologist Cliff Massis is calling the fire season “Smokezilla.” He said satellite images showed impressive amounts of smoke west of the Cascades and along the Pacific coast.
Here is a link to the regional satellite at noaa.gov/goes/west.
The human-caused Diamond Creek fire in a drainage of the Pasayten Wilderness northwest of Omak has burned 7,100 acres. It is located 4 miles from the Billy Goat Trailhead and 16 miles from Mazama, Washington. Firefighters expect to have containment by Sunday.
The lightning-caused Noisy Creek fire on the southeast side of Sullivan Lake was up to 2,100 acres. It started during a storm on July 15 and is only 4 percent contained.
Four fires were burning in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests in central Idaho. The largest is the Moose Creek fire 1 at 4,100 acres where lightning provided ignition.
The Lava Flow fire west of Idaho Falls has burned 20,000 acres, also the result of lightning.
In Lolo National Forest in Western Montana, six separate fires are burning, including the 15,600-acre Sapphire Complex, which was sparked by lightning 25 miles southeast of Missoula. It was 45 percent contained on Thursday.
Spokane has now gone 36 days without measurable rain. The record dry spell for the city is 73 days in 1917.