Inland Northwesters rejoiced on Monday! It feels incredible to breathe fresh air again.

The smoke became suffocating in Washington State, Idaho and Montana over the past two weeks, making it difficult to breathe and providing the Inland Northwest with some of the worst air quality in the world.

Monday brought clear skies and clean, fresh air.

Not to put a damper on the mood, but smoke may eventually return to the region.

Here are three things you need to know about inevitable return of wildfire smoke:

1) WILDFIRE SEASON IS NOT OVER: The cold front that passed through over the weekend brought cooler temperatures and a nice shift in the weather pattern, mixing smoke out of our region. That’s why we can all breathe a little easier to start off week. However, any rain that happened was not enough to put out regional wildfires. Large enough wildfires can burn for months with enough dry vegetation and no measurable precipitation. A current map of wildfires surrounding us:

Current fires around the United States.

2) WINDS ARE A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD: The weekend winds did help clear out smoke. But, the shifting and/or increasing winds may have also helped spread regional fires more quickly. In turn, larger fires = more smoke. The smoke has to go somewhere.

British Columbia remains under a state of emergency as 163 wildfires continue to burn across the province. 163! According to Canadian officials, this season is now B.C.’s worst fire season in almost 60 years. More than 1,000 so far this season.

Fires in British Columbia.

3) WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS: Winds may blow smoke back into Northwest Washington and Northern Idaho as early as Tuesday of this week, but right now looking better than the thick smoke of last week. Storm Tracker 2 and digital team will continue to monitor state of the air quality! Threat of smoke in the air will not burn out completely until wildfire season is over...which can sometimes last as long as winter.

Monday's good air quality:

Air quality over Washington and the Idaho Panhandle.

Do you have photos of smoke in your area? Tweet them using #KREMsmoke or email them to and remember to tell us where you snapped your pic!