A massive combined smoke plume from wildfires burning in California and Oregon is moving northward. Vancouver, Washington’s air quality began being affected Thursday afternoon. The National Weather Service in Seattle said the cloud of smoke and ash has been too high in the atmosphere to cause serious health effects, but predicted a mix downward will cause a noticeable change in visibility. The poor air quality alerts will remain in effect until late Monday morning for most of western Washington.
Nearly 600 thousand acres have been burned so far in Washington’s wildfires. On Wednesday in Pacific County, firefighters successfully contained a 1 acre fire in Bay Center and a 1 ½ acre fire near Washaway Beach. On Thursday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee visited the eastern Washington town of Malden, where 80 percent of the town was destroyed on Monday. He said some help is on the way.
Inslee: “As you know I’ve declared an emergency. We freed up several hundred thousand dollars from our emergency fund for cash assistance. We want to get some cash to these familes, so they can eat and have a little bit of clothing and a little bit of whatever they need to survive in the upcoming weeks.’”
The financial assistance will be available through Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services’ Family Emergency Assistance Program. Individuals and families without children may also apply under the proclamation. Application information will be available on local counties websites.