On Tuesday (Sept. 5), you most likely noticed some very small white or gray stuff falling from the sky, covering your car and other outdoor items, as well as perhaps making you look like you had a major dandruff problem.
No, it wasn’t snow (or dandruff) – it was ash from various raging wildfires all over our region.
Scott Schaefer captured this spider’s web – chalk full of inedible ash (click images to see larger versions):
PHOTOS: Ash from wildfires falls like snow in region, affecting even spider webs 1
And Elston Hill shared this photo showing the reflection of the sun and ash on his car window:
PHOTOS: Ash from wildfires falls like snow in region, affecting even spider webs 2
Meteorologist Cliff Mass says that he’s never seen anything like this before:

“I have been forecasting around here for a long time and have never seen a situation like this, with ash falling around western Washington and a smoke cloud so dense one would think it is low stratus deck.”

Mass added this image at 3 p.m. – the latest NASA MODIS visible image, showing smoke everywhere in Washington State:
PHOTOS: Ash from wildfires falls like snow in region, affecting even spider webs 3
The National Weather Service also issued the following Air Quality Alert:

An Air Quality Alert has been issued by the National Weather Service. It is in effect through 5 PM PDT Wednesday afternoon.
Smoke from wildfires in Eastern Washington and Montana will continue to drift westward into Western Washington today into Wednesday morning. The central Puget Sound Region and the mountains will be the most impacted by the smoke. Expect the air quality to become unhealthy for sensitive groups today into Wednesday morning with locations between 1000 to 1500 feet likely to experience the lowest air quality conditions.
Conditions are expected to begin improving tonight along the coast, and the interior on Wednesday, as marine air pushes inland and southerly flow aloft pushes the smoke out of the area.
Children, the elderly, and individuals with respiratory illnesses are most at risk of serious health effects. These groups should limit or avoid time outdoors.
For more information on burn bans and the air quality in your area, please visit the following web sites.

  • Washington State Department of Ecology: www.ecy.wa.gov Puget Sound
  • Clean Air Agency: pscleanair.org
  • Southwest Clean Air Agency: swcleanair.org
  • Olympic Region Clean Air: orcaa.org
  • Northwest Clean Air Agency: nwcleanairwa.gov

For information on the smoke affecting Washington state, visit the Washington Smoke Blog at http://wasmoke.blogspot.com.