Wildfire smoke is choking the West but helping firefighters

Elizabeth Nicholson snuggles up to her 10-year-old thoroughbred, Saoirse, at Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds in Ridgefield, Wash.

Wildfire smoke blanketing much of the Western and Northwestern U.S. is setting off health alarms, but firefighters say it’s helping them by containing temperatures and boosting humidity.

“It’s holding down our afternoon high temperatures by nearly 10 degrees,” said Bryan Henry, assistant manager of prediction services for the National Interagency Fire Center, which coordinates wildfire-fighting.

The lower temperatures keep humidity higher, Henry said. The vegetation absorbs the moisture — grasses more quickly than trees — and makes it less flammable. Read more

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Updated: 09/09/2017 — 09:03

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