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Reports of the smell of smoke on Capitol Hill as wildfires burn miles away

"Out at the #ChelanComplex fire line thanking firefighters for their hard work. #ThankAFireFighter #WAwildfire " (Image: @GovInslee)

“Out at the #ChelanComplex fire line thanking firefighters for their hard work. #ThankAFireFighter #WAwildfire ” (Image: @GovInslee)

With a summer rain storm blowing into the region from the Pacific, people were reporting an odd but familiar smell in the air on Capitol Hill Thursday night — smoke, apparently from Eastern Washington beyond the Cascades.

Reports are also coming in from other neighborhoods.

In at least one instance, Seattle Fire has been called out to investigate but found nothing. Others report that their building fire alarms have been set off by the smoke — though that could also have been coincidence.

There were no major fires being responded to in Seattle as of 11:30 PM.

Earlier in the day, Senator Maria Cantwell was at Seattle University for a hearing on wildfires burning across Washington State and the west. One of the largest blazes near Chelan is more than 150 miles away from Seattle.

UPDATE: California?

UPDATE x2: A fire near Shelton — less than 100 miles away — could also be a culprit.

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20 thoughts on “Reports of the smell of smoke on Capitol Hill as wildfires burn miles away

  1. There’s a fire near Shelton – been burning for a few hours – probably just now got blown this way. Judging by the flag on top of 2 Union the winds are out of the SSW so it’d make sense.

  2. The smoke alarm in my building on First Hill went off around 11:00 last night and we all evacuated. The fire department let us back in pretty quick so it may have been set off by the smokey air too.

  3. I was planning go over to Chuck’s Hop Shop today and yell at them for running a barbecue last night at 11:30 PM and filling everyone’s house up with smoke blah blah blah be a better neighbor, etc. Sure glad I saw this. :D

  4. Of course this post is from Capitol Hill….

    Hey… hipsters: half of WA and OR are on fire. People are dying. Homes are being destroyed. Firefighters are risking their lives.

    That is why you smell smoke.

    Feel free to pull your heads out of your asses at any time.

    • I thought it was pretty incredible to consider how far the smell of the fires was traveling. Still do. Also an opportunity to bring attention to the very situations you are talking about, hero.

    • It is actually *news we can use* to find out if the smoke is from the forest fires or just a burning dumpster a block away. The last time I smelled something burning it turned out to be the vinyl siding on an apartment on my street.

  5. Came back on Monday from a week in Spokane. Truly terrible air situation from the nearby terrible fire situation.

    For everyone new to the area, be aware that the mountains do not necessarily protect the west side from east side fire smoke. And, that any fires to the south and southwest will affect us because of our usual SW flow of weather.

    And, if you have any challenges to your lungs, these fires and their smoke can affect you strongly even miles away from an eastern source because of off-shore air flow.

    I’m still coughing and on extra meds because of my exposure to the smoke in Spokane. If we have some more days here like last Saturday, please pay attention and restrict being outdoors if you also have asthma, bronchitis, or other lung troubles.

    And, if you’re planning any travel to eastern WA, be aware that the bad smoke can show up before you reach Ellensburg — driving on I90, we were all feeling light-headed and yawning from the air quality and that will affect your driving ability.

    If you’re going to spend any amount of time in central and eastern WA, or in the Idaho panhandle and surrounding areas, take face masks (like you see people wearing in Japan), and make sure you have enough lozenges, inhalers if appropriate, and available water.

    • Anyone experiencing sensitivity to poor air quality should not use an inhaler. Inhalers open airways so you’re taking in more of the bad air which compounds the situation. The best course of action is to go inside or breathe filtered air.

  6. I thought last weekend was much worse than last night. Did anyone notice the sunrise last weekend? Notice views of the Space Needle were hazy? It was sunny yet the Olympic range couldn’t be seen? Reminded me of Shanghai.

  7. Last weekend I constantly smelled smoke and had massive breathing problems due to the fires. And today I’d JUST finally gotten over it, right in time for another unfortunate weekend.

    The joys of having severe asthma, I guess.