Desert-Aire is a
Community of Mattawa
In the late 1960s, a group of investors led by Harry Davidson, of Harry Davidson, Inc., bought 3,200 acres (13 km2) of land along the Columbia River near the Priest Rapids Dam for some $1,000,000. Davidson cut in a runway and flew investors into his airport community in a Douglas DC-3. They developed a planned community of some 1,600 homes centered on the airport, a golf course and marina, which opened beginning in 1970. In 1994 the Grant County Airport District #1 was formed and now maintains the regional public-use airport in the community.
Desert Aire is located near the southwest corner of Grant County at 46°41′6″N 119°55′29″W (46.685121, -119.924811), on the east bank of the Columbia River where it is part of Priest Rapids Lake. Washington State Route 243 forms the eastern edge of the CDP; the highway leads north 5 miles (8 km) to Mattawa and 20 miles (32 km) to Interstate 90 across the Columbia River from Vantage. To the southeast SR 243 leads 11 miles (18 km) to SR 24 at the Vernita Bridge over the Columbia.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Desert Aire CDP has a total area of 6.1 square miles (15.8 km2), of which 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2) are land and 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2), or 44.32%, are water. The CDP extends out to the middle of the Columbia River, where it is bordered by Yakima County to the west.
Desert Aire has some of the hottest temperatures in Washington during the summer and is one of the driest places in the state, being located in the rain shadow of both the Cascades and the Umtanums.
Average temperatures in July are a maximum of 102 °F (39 °C) and a minimum of 64 °F (18 °C). In January, the average maximum is 40 °F (4 °C) and the minimum is 26 °F (−3 °C). Rainfall averages only 7 inches (180 mm) per year, and the average snowfall is 6 inches (150 mm).