E. Wash. fire smoke drifts west, prompts 911 calls

Sep 13, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state officials say smoke from dozens of lightning-sparked wildfires is not only blanketing much of central and eastern Washington, it's drifting into parts of western Washington, where alarmed residents are calling 911.

State Department of Natural Resources spokesman Bryan Flint said Wednesday that 911 centers in five southwest Washington counties have reported being inundated with false fire reports prompted by smoke from fires east of the Cascade Mountains.

Flint says easterly winds are moving the smoke through the Columbia Gorge and across gaps in the Cascades. He says that pattern is likely to continue over the next day or so. Bottom line advice: report any columns of smoke, but not just general haze.