Haze creeps into Spokane as fires continue their devastating toll on the West

<p><p>Regional wildfires, as well as fires in California and Southern Oregon, pushed a smoky haze into the Spokane area Wednesday, and Thursday is expected to be similar.</p></p><p><p>Wednesday’s air quality topped out in the “moderate,” range according to Lisa Woodard, communications/outreach manager at the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency. Thursday is expected to stay mostly the same, with a slight break in the afternoon expected and air quality possibly reaching the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range.</p></p><p><p>Potential rain Thursday night and Friday is expected to clear out haze for the weekend, according to Mark Turner, the observing program leader at the Spokane National Weather Service.</p></p><p><p>The smoke comes from a mixture of regional wildfires, as well as fires in California and southern Oregon, as a steering flow from the southwest is coming up and meeting local smoke. Wind is taking the mixture through Spokane northeast before pushing into Idaho and Montana, according to Turner.</p></p><p><p>Northern California’s McCash wildfire, which has burned 59,049 acres and is 15% contained, as well as Oregon’s Devil’s Knob Complex, initially a mix of 43 fires that has burned 59,888 acres and is 35% contained, could be contributing to the smoke, the weather service said.</p></p><p><p>Meanwhile, wildfires in Eastern Washington and North Idaho continue to burn.</p></p><p><p>Ferry County’s <strong>Summit Trail Fire</strong>, which has been active for nearly two months, has burned 48,457 acres of rugged mountain terrain and is 64% contained. By Oct. 31, the fire should be fully contained.</p></p><p><p>As of Sunday, the <strong>Trestle Creek Fire Complex</strong>, located in the Idaho Panhandle, had burned 6,641 acres and was 60% contained. The complex, originally consisting of seven fires from July 7 lightning strikes, is expected to be fully contained by Oct. 15.</p></p><p><p>Near Walla Walla, the <strong>Green Ridge Fire</strong> continues to burn in the Blue Mountains at 41,867 acres and 40% containment. It looks to be contained by Oct. 1.</p></p><p><p>The same thunderstorm that ignited the Trestle Creek Complex also sparked two wildfires that became the <strong>Character Complex</strong> near Kellogg. It has burned 12,121 acres and is 73% contained, with officials expecting it to be fully contained by Nov. 1.</p></p><p><p>Wildfires such as Stevens County’s Ford-Corkscrew and the Whitmore near Nespelem have been almost completely contained. The <strong>Ford-Corkscrew</strong> burned 15,782 acres as of Aug. 30 and at one time threatened many around Ford, Tum Tum, Clayton and Springdale. The <strong>Whitmore Fire</strong> burned 58,280 acres, as of Aug. 19, near Nespelem, the Columbia River and Omak Lake.</p></p>