Weather Systems Monday Expected to Push Smoke Out; Fire Growth Slows


A mix of smoke and fog shrouded the Puget Sound region as fires continued to burn throughout the West Sunday morning.

Firefighters continued battling roughly 30 fires in Washington and Oregon, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. One new fire was reported in Washington 14 miles south of Pullman in the Wawawei Canyon, covering 310 acres. The blaze was 25% contained as of Sunday morning.

But cooler temperatures, lighter winds and higher humidities continued to slow the growth of fires throughout the Northwest.

With the smoke mixing with fog and low clouds, the low visibility appeared set to remain for the first half of the day, although there's a chance of gradual improvement in the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service's Seattle office.

Starting Monday, multiple incoming weather systems should bring stronger eastward winds blowing the smoke to higher levels of the atmosphere.

"As we get into Monday, through the day and beyond, it looks like the majority of the smoke will begin to move off to the east and mix out, giving us some improvement," said Matthew Cullen, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "It may not be a rapid flip the switch and suddenly it's all gone kind of thing, but the trend toward improvement looks to be on the way."

The Pearl Hill and Cold Springs fires -- the two largest in Washington -- were respectively 80% and 45% contained as of Sunday morning. The Pearl Hill fire near Bridgeport has burned nearly 224,000 acres, with the Cold Springs blaze approaching 189,000 acres.