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Forecast: smoky and ashy, for a little longer

Wildfire ash leaving messy residue on Pierce County vehicles

Area wildfires are raining ash on Pierce County.
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Area wildfires are raining ash on Pierce County.

The forecast Wednesday is smoky with a chance of ashfall.

Air quality continues to suffer from wildfires burning across the Northwest, though officials expect some of the smoke to start clearing by late afternoon.

“This is clearly the worst smoke year in Seattle that anyone can remember,” said Cliff Mass, a University of Washington meteorologist.

So many people tried to log on to the state Environmental Protection Agency website Tuesday to check how their area was affected that the website crashed.

“There was hardly a corner of the state that wasn’t battered and bruised by smoke and ash yesterday,” officials wrote on a blog set up to keep residents updated on fire information.

The Tacoma area was listed as moderate early Wednesday, though some parents and schools were choosing to keep children inside.

Air quality should return to “good” by Thursday.

Marine flow is forecast to move through Western Washington on Wednesday, flushing out some of the smoke that has lowered visibility and obscured views of Mount Rainier.

The central Puget Sound region and the mountains will be most affected, and air quality is worse around 1,000 to 1,500 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures will hover in the 70s until early next week, when they’re expected to spike again. There’s a small chance it’ll rain Thursday night and Friday.

There is a statewide ban on all outdoor burning, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. The ban won’t be lifted until the wildfire danger subsides.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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