West Coast Fires Test Air Quality Forecasting Capabilities

August 23, 2023

NOAA’s National Air Quality Forecast Capability (NAQFC) continues to track and forecast air quality impacts of wildfires across the Nation. The 2023 wildfire season in both Canada and the US has brought smoke and other fire emissions to the Pacific Northwest in recent weeks.

The August 20-24 events are useful to evaluate the model performance. This version of NAQFC picks up spatial patterns and transport of high PM2.5 very well in the series of 24-hr forecasts over four days. The data from AirNow ground stations (shown in circles) allows for model developers to assess accuracy of the forecast over time.

For fire and smoke information, AirNow captures real time data with forecasts for general use.

Animation of wildfire smoke forecast for August 20-23, 2023. This forecast is also compared to the AirNow stations (shown as circles), to measure the performance of the model in real-world conditions.