Trending: Bill Gates outlines 3 steps US government needs to take ‘to save lives and get the country back to work’
A Washington State Ferry makes it way across Elliott Bay from downtown Seattle during a smoky sunset. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

That’s not another blurry sunset photo or video from your friend on Facebook or Instagram, that’s August, again, in Seattle and the surrounding areas of Western Washington.

Little orange circles are dotting images everywhere we look these days as smoke from wildfires elsewhere in Washington state and further north in British Columbia drifts down and blots out summer skies.

Missing skylines and mountain ranges are the norm as Seattle — a city not unaccustomed to being blanketed in grey — has taken on that shade during what is traditionally the season where we are reminded why we put up with winter.

If you want the science on how bad (and how dangerous) things are, University of Washington atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass has those details. GeekWire wrote about his observations last week, and less than a week later Mass was telling us that the region’s air quality is the worst ever recorded.

At Monday night’s Mariners game at Safeco Field, the fog-like haze created more of a Bay Area atmosphere. Robinson Cano wasn’t choking though, as he sent a ball into the seats to give the M’s a 7-4 win over Houston.

Juxtaposing the Space Needle against smoky skies has been a popular move for photographers this month. The smoke is poor timing considering the fact this summer is the grand reveal of all of the renovation work done atop the iconic structure. Looking down 500 feet through the new glass floor might be a better view than trying to spot Mount Rainier in the distance.

The Needle’s Panocam is also a great place to get a real-time idea of just how bad things are outside.

Greg Johnson’s Skunk Bay Weather, located in Hansville, Wash., on the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula, is normally a place to go to see dramatic webcam footage of sunsets, sunrises, storms and night skies. Drone footage from 390 feet up on Tuesday summed up what we’re all thinking: “Yuck.”

Staying inside may be encouraged as a way to avoid irritating your eyes and lungs, but it doesn’t mean you’ll completely escape particulates floating in the air. GeekWire’s Frank Catalano was at Seattle’s Cinerama movie theater on Monday and captured the scene while the projectionist was test screening that evening’s movie.

“Even with the house lights up at least half (if not higher), you could see the projector hitting smoke and particulates apparently trapped inside from constantly opening and closing outside doors,” Catalano said. “It was like a 1940’s film noir movie palace. At least the image on screen still looked good.”

Particles can be seen floating in the light from the projector at the Cinerama movie theater in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Frank Catalano)

Check out some other “views” of the smoky surroundings, below.

Good hazy morning! Another awesome work day 😎 #smokyseattle

A post shared by Su Hightower ( on

And finally, if you’re a fan of sci-fi, and especially “Blade Runner 2049,” you’ll appreciate that things could be a lot worse …

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


Job Listings on GeekWork

Executive AssistantRad Power Bikes
Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.