Are Smokey Summer Skies the New Normal in Seattle?

By Graham Johnson, KIRO 7

At Log Boom Park in Kenmore, the view of Lake Washington on Tuesday was mostly lost in the haze.

The nearest air quality gauge is in Lake Forest Park, which had particulate readings in the unhealthy range.

The smoke is coming from fires in Canada and Eastern Washington.

This round of smoky skies follows even worse air quality last summer, including a time in September when we could see falling ash.

Does climate change mean this is something we need to get used to?

Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond said, “It’s not a simple answer.”

Bond told me the winds bringing in the smoke are more a matter of bad luck.

But, he also pointed to a graph showing how the average temperature in Washington from July through September has risen 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895.

“The upward trend in temperature is unmistakable so that warming makes us more prone to wildland fires,” Bond said.

And as forests dry out, tree-killing bugs thrive, making the trees easier to burn.

“We can’t totally blame climate change for all the smoke but we are expecting more wildfires so this kind of thing will become more frequent,” Bond said.

Read more at KIRO 7