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Smoke Could Clear Willamette Valley This Weekend, But Don't Celebrate Yet


Wildfires across the Northwest could prolong smoky conditions in the Willamette Valley.

The National Weather Service says westerly winds could clear smoke Friday night into Saturday as temperatures dip below triple digits, but smoke is expected to return.

“There’s a good chance that the smoke is going to be coming back in Sunday or Monday depending on how strong the wind is and how long the wind shift holds,” said David Bishop with the National Weather Service in Portland.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says air quality in the Portland metro area is still in the unhealthy range, meaning small particles from wildfire can irritate the eyes, throat and lungs.

The sun sets over the Olympic Mountains, made a brilliant red because of smoke from fires raging in British Columbia that swept down into the Pacific Northwest, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in Seattle.

The sun sets over the Olympic Mountains, made a brilliant red because of smoke from fires raging in British Columbia that swept down into the Pacific Northwest, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in Seattle.

Elaine Thompson/AP

Meanwhile, Portland General Electric says customers used a record-setting amount of electricity this week.

PGE reports customers used nearly 4,000 megawatts of electricity Thursday at 6 p.m. PST, likely due to 105 degree temperatures at that time.

The utility says more customers now have air-conditioning than in the past but typically customers use more electricity in winter months, although that is likely to shift as summer months get hotter.

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