Central Washington University

Local Air QualityUpdated
29EllensburgDec 5 6:00 pm
23WenatcheeDec 5 6:00 pm
51YakimaDec 5 6:00 pm
16Moses LakeDec 5 6:00 pm
Air Quality Legend
WA Department of Ecology

Kittitas County Fire Updates

Welcome to the CWU wildfire information page. If a fire in the region affects air quality and the daily lives of people in Kittitas County, we will provide accurate, up-to-date information on this page.

Where is the smoke coming from?

August 23, 2016: Folks in Kittitas County may see smoke on the horizon as several new fires have been detected in central and eastern Washington, however, air quality remains good in Ellensburg and Kittitas County.

A hot, dry spell followed by windy conditions made for high fire potential in much of the region. Multiple new fires started Sunday, resulting in the mobilization of four type 2 incident management teams to northeast Washington, and two teams to eastern Oregon. 

Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency for 20 eastern Washington counties, including Kittitas County, due to the new fires and hot and windy weather conditions forecasted for the next seven days.

The following is a list of large active fires in Washington:

  • Deep North Fire, 25 miles northeast of Colville, started on August 21. Estimated 800 acres in timber.
  • Hart Fire, 13 miles north of Davenport, started on August 21. Estimated 6,000 acres in grass and brush, 10 percent contained.

  • Cayuse Mountain Fire, 7 miles southwest of Wellpinit, started on August 21. Estimated 10,000 acres in grass, brush, and timber, 30 percent contained.
  • Spokane Complex (Wellesley Fire and Yale Road Fire), northeast and south of Spokane, started on August 21. Estimated 3,750 acres in grass and timber.
  • Kahlotus Fire, 10 miles southwest of Washtucna, started on August 21. Estimated 20,000 acres in grass and brush, 19 percent contained.
  • Tule #6 Fire, 25 miles southeast of Yakima, started August 21. Estimated 10,000 acres in grass and brush, 50 percent contained.
  • Buck Creek Fire, north of Leavenworth in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, started on July 22. Estimated 1,080 acres in timber.

The majority of new fires are affecting air quality in the Spokane area. This morning the Air Quality Index for the Spokane area reached unhealthy (the red category). Air quality can fluctuate each hour.

The recent hot weather also energized fires smoldering in the Olympic National Park south of Port Angeles, the smoke from which drifted over the Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia area Friday evening.

—SOURCES: Northwest Interagency Coordination CenterWashington State Smoke BlogEsri Public Information Map


August 11, 2016: The Kewa Fire burning on the Colville Indian Reservation in northeast Washington is the only active large fire remaining in the state. It is 75 percent contained. 

Air quality is good in Kittitas County and throughout Washington. 


August 5, 2016: Air quality remains good in Ellensburg and Kittitas County as fire crews continue to make progress on the large fires burning across central and southcentral Washington. Large fire potential remains elevated east of the Cascades through the weekend as dry lightning and winds are anticipated for eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington.

Current large fires in Washington include:

  • The Range 12 Fire burning in grass and brush 14 miles east of Yakima. It is estimated to be 176,600 acres and 95 percent contained.
  • The Snake River Fire burning in grass 12 miles northeast of Pomeroy. It is estimated to be 11,000 acres and 30 percent contained.
  • The South Ward Gap Fire burning in grass and brush 1 mile south of Prosser. It is estimated to be 5,000 acres and 95 percent contained.
  • The Road 10 Fire burning in grass and brush 7 miles north of Moses Lake. It is estimated to be 3,280 acres and 100 percent contained.
  • The Kewa Fire burning in timber and brush in Ferry County northwest of Spokane. It is estimated to be 1,859 acres and 25 percent contained.
  • The North Touchet Fire burning in timber, brush, and tall grass 26 miles northeast of Walla Walla. It is estimated to be 536 acres and 93 percent contained.
  • The Antilon Lake Fire burning in timber, brush, and grass 10 miles northwest of Chelan. It is estimated to be 315 acres and 95 percent contained. 

Smaller active fires include:

—SOURCE: Northwest Interagency Coordination Center


August 2, 2016: Five large fires continue to burn in central and southcentral Washington, in addition to two long-duration fires being managed in Olympic National Park and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

While high winds forecasted today provide good smoke ventilation, they are a concern for fire growth. Most areas will see some daytime smoke with good ventilation, and then poor ventilation and some smoke build up overnight.

Yakima and Benton counties will likely see some smoke from local fires over the next few days. Winds are forecasted to shift out of the south, causing some eastern- and southern-most locations to get drifting smoke from Idaho and Oregon fires.

—Source: Washington State Multiagency Wildfire Smoke Conference 8/2/2016


July 31, 2016: Four new large fires are burning east of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington states, and their smoke is visible at times in Kittitas County. Monitors operated by the Washington Department of Ecology are reporting good air quality in Ellensburg and the rest of the state.

New active fires, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, include:
  • The Weigh Station Fire southeast of Pendleton, Oregon, burning in grass and timber
  • The North Touchet Fire northeast of Walla Walla, Washington, burning in grass and brush
  • The Black Rock Road Fire northeast of Moses Lake, Washington, burning in grass and brush
  • And the Range 12 Fire east of Yakima, Washington, burning in grass and brush
Fire crews are continuing to work on three previous fires:
  • The Bybee Creek Fire northeast of Prospect, Oregon
  • The Antilon Lake Fire northwest of Chelan, Washington
  • And The Rattlesnake Fire northeast of Warm Springs, Oregon


Links to more information

Washington Air Quality Map

Emergency Response Information  |  Washington Smoke Information Blog

Washington State Fire Map  |  InciWeb Incident Information System

Wildfire Relief Center, a special campaign of Washington State Combined Fund Drive member charities

Instructions on using N95 or N100 masks in English and Spanish