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Smoke from California wildfires moves north into Oregon and Washington

Smoke billows from the Camp Fire as a firefighting helicopter flies near Pulga, Calif., on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Smoke from the wildfires in California has been so dense at times that it’s made the skies there black. Now, the smoke is migrating into Oregon and Washington and it could affect the air quality in the Pacific Northwest.

The High Resolution Rapid Refresh model, or HRRR, shows the smoke moving north.

The model is still experimental, but it’s been relatively accurate in the past couple seasons. It works using satellite data, including a measurement of the fire’s heat, combining that with the type of vegetation burning.


Then, building on regular weather models, it puts all of it together to give a detailed forecast of the smoke amount, direction, and height in the atmosphere. This information helps determine visibility and health concerns for the population.

Other sites like AirNow.gov use data from sensors on the ground to determine current air quality.


Tuesday morning, Eugene air quality levels were already measuring “unhealthy.”

The forecast from HRRR shows Portland’s air quality will decrease into Tuesday night, but clear by Wednesday morning.

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