Aug 20, 2015

Smoke coming from northwestern states; no wildfires on the Shoshone

With the amount of smoke in town, you might be tempted to assume there's a wildlife burning nearby. In actuality, the haze is coming from points well northwest of here.

Satellite images taken Thursday show blazes in Washington and Idaho putting out a lot of smoke that's drifting into Wyoming, including Cody and Powell.

Fires in Washington are producing a large amount of smoke. Image taken from NASA's EOSDIS "Worldview" tool.


With the smoke so thick, the Shoshone National Forest put out a Thursday afternoon news release just to clarify there were not any fires inside the forest's 2.4 million acres.

Shoshone spokeswoman Kristie Salzmann, based in Cody, said forest personnel had heard a smattering of comments around town about the smoke's origins and wanted to preempt any thoughts that it was coming from somewhere on the Shoshone.

Salzmann said there are more than 90 large, uncontained wildfires burning across more than a million acres in Oregon, Idaho, California, Washington, Nevada, Texas and Arizona.

The state of Washington has asked for help in fighting its fires, and on Thursday, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead announced he's sending two UH-60 helicopters equipped with aerial firefighting equipment. Each helicopter includes a crew of three, with a two-person maintenance crew joining them.

“We want to do all we can to help keep people and property safe,” Mead said in a statement. “Wyoming crews are well-trained and able to help.”

The crews will be based at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Washington. The deployment is expected to last around 16 days, but the crews can be recalled at any time if a need arises in Wyoming, the governor's office said.

“The National Guard is based on partnerships,” said Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner, Wyoming's adjutant general, in a statement. “When one of our partners needs support in times of need it is important to step up and assist.”

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