Washington Smoke Map

*The map above is not able to display all state air quality monitors. Click here to see all monitors in Washington: WA Ecology Air Monitors

Note: Some users might notice intermittent discrepancies in colors shown on the map of air quality monitors above, and those reported on the Department of Ecology's official page. This is because Ecology believes their method of calculating the air quality category (i.e. “Good”, “Moderate”, Unhealthy” etc) is more protective of public health in Washington. If in doubt as to which better represents public health risk, use the more stringent of the two (i.e. the map showing worse air quality).





Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Poor Air Quality Across Most of the State!

Smoke from Montana fires has caused hazardous air quality in eastern WA and it won’t improve much over the next couple days. Although air quality is better in Western WA, the big fires in the Cascades (Jolly Mountain Fire near Cle Elum and the Norse Peak fire near Chinook Pass) are providing smoke that, combined with winds from the east, is making its way into the Puget Sound area.  Air quality in the Puget Sound area will likely drop to unhealthy today but clear out by Thursday.

Some of the local air quality mapping services have been having trouble keeping up with the traffic, but EPA's AirNow page is usually available.



There have been some concerns about ash particles that have deposited in Western WA not showing up on the air quality monitors. Keep in mind that the monitors measure fine particles, not larger particles like ash. 

A recent satellite image (below) shows the huge swaths of smoke covering our state and neighbors.  If you are in an area with smoky air, stay indoors if possible and set your A/C to recirculation.  If you work outdoors and have adverse reactions to smoke, then you should consider staying indoors Tuesday through Thursday. Also consider wearing N95 face masks or making a trip to areas with cleaner air.  Though, only the coast should expect decent air quality over the next couple days.


43 comments:

  1. When is air quality supposed to improve in Edmonds area. Have a 7 week old and wondering if I should take them to Lake Crescent area for a few days.

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    1. With smoke from fires in WA and surrounding states, smoke will be at various levels for at least the next several days depending on how the winds and other atmospheric effects move it. We will try to post a smoke forecast every day or every other day. For more health guidance please see the “Smoke and Health” tab on this website for WA Dept. of Heath recommendations, as well as contacting your local health department for those specifics. Snohomish Health District

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    2. I live by Lake crescent and it is smoky and particles of ash are falling.

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    3. Try a HEPA filter in the room(s) they will be in.

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  2. Where are the areas with cleaner air? Also how long do you expect diminished air quality in Eastern Washington?

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    1. There is an air quality alert for Eastern WA until noon Friday. This weathern pattern is expected to persist until a cold front passage late Thursday, followed by an
      increased southwesterly flow by Friday morning. That should help alleviate the smoky air. The cleanest air in the state is along the coast on the Olympic Peninsula. You can see this map for recent conditions.

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    2. Get out of there for a few days, seriously, Blaine, Wa. Is in good shape, I'm up here now and its clear locally. But no view of the Olympics.

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  3. I'm in Port Townsend and the ash is dropping like light snow. I would call the city of Port Angeles and see what they think.

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  4. Where can we expect the least amount of smoke? We have a pregnant person and young children in our family and will leave Central Washington when we find out where we can expect better air quality.

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    1. You can see this map for recent conditions. You should probably get ahold of air filters and if you can find an indoor location that is air conditioned with air filtration that would be ideal.

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    2. A/C and a True Hepa filter 24/7 indoors is how we clear the air. True HEPA will take out smoke particles. Good luck!

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  5. Can someone post a key to that colours on the map..please
    I have family in the purple area in Idaho

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    1. The information you seek is on this website. Please see: Meaning of the Color-Coded Dots. Its on the Air Quality Now tab above, then under the “Monitors” heading.

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  6. Do you expect poor air quality to persist in Bellingham area for the rest of the week?

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    1. Air quality in Bellingham may actually get a bit better tomorrow afternoon with the wind. Don't expect things to clear out completely though. Things should get even better, though, on Thursday afternoon for your area.

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  7. The problem for many of us with breathing conditions (asthma, etc) who work outdoor jobs is convincing our employers that being outside is dangerous for us. They tend to brush it off as "paranoia" or an "excuse" despite how serious the effects can be. Not all of us have the luxury of calling out without mysteriously loosing our jobs (proving discrimination is not so easy). An official announcement from the department of labor would be helpful.

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    1. Show your employer the OSHA general duty clause CFR 29 - 1910. Employers are required to protect their employees from known hazards in the work place. You should have been trained on this as well...by your employer. A call to L&I can help. Know your rights,it's your health.

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  8. I live in Spokane & the smoke is horrible here as well. When we have to go out in the thick of it, can a bandana over the face help until we can get a cpl N95 face masks?

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    1. Bandanas are not mentioned for smoke protection in WA Dept of Health information. It looks like you know about the N95 mask. Please contact your local health department for more health related advice on face masks while waiting for your N95s. You could also try your local clean air agency: Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency

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  9. Should I run in this weather?

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    1. You comment does not give an indication of where you are, but deciding if you should run is your choice. If air quality condition are at the level of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups or worse you may want to reconsider.

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  10. the gov site with real time data on air quality does not work for 2 days when the most critically having exact reading from meters. https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/Default.htm. would you suggest any other network that reading air quality meters in real time for kirkland wa/seattle/bellevue areas?

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    1. Hi, yes unfortunately this site has been straining under load when we needed it to work the most. Even the map above this blog (run by the US Forest service) hasnt been keeping up well. EPA's airnow.gov site and the graphic they produce every hour (https://files.airnowtech.org/airnow/today/cur_aqi_wa_or.jpg) have been functioning reliably. The Bellevue area is running around Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups now.

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    2. this map does not have information from meters on particulates levels. it is sad that when most needed the information on meters is gone from public viewing.

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    3. The air monitoring page has been overwhelmed with people accessing it. If you are unable to get access consider using the air monitoring window on the top of this web page. It is also getting heavily hit but will load if given a little time. You can also check out https://www.airnow.gov/.

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    4. On September 5, for Bellingham, the EPA site reported 82 all day, which was the reading at 6:00 am. The AQI Chinese site reported no pm 2.5 data after 6:00 am, but presented the pm 10 number without making it clear that it was not pm 2.5. This is Chinese style reporting. Is there a US embassy nearby that might report correct data for the people?

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    5. John Bremer: First up, neither aqicn.org and airnow.gov are within our purview, but I am responding since I occasionally make use of those sites. Aqicn's data QA/QC is not as rigorous as ours or EPA's, and they focus on grabbing whatever data they can scoop up from any source worldwide. Much larger # of sites, lesser reliability.

      Were you looking at the daily average forecast PM2.5 AQI for Bellingham on the EPA site, rather than the measured hourly values?
      Bellingham PM2.5 data on aqicn.org were missing for 6 hours yesterday, but I dont see that gap in Ecology, PSCAA, USFS or EPA databases. Obviously aqicn does not back-poll data, because if they did the previous gap will be cleared up when data become available.

      Though they report multiple pollutants in Belligham for instance, only PM2.5 and O3 are measured there. The rest are substituted from nearby measurements. The footnote below the site-specific plot says: "Note that the measurements for PM10 (respirable particulate matter), CO (carbon monoxide), NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) and SO2 (sulfur dioxide) are taken from the station Abbotsford"

      Not sure I understand your question about a US embassy... nearby where? Anyway, https://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.global_summary shows all PM2.5 data collected at US embassies overseas.

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  11. Someone needs to fix the Chelan monitor or take it offline. It is reporting PM2.5 values much too low. I am an air quality scientist living in the area and have enough experience to know that PM2.5 is three or more times greater than the current readings.

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    1. Thank you for bringing that to our attention. We have notified the monitoring specialists.

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    2. It looks like the Chelan monitor is no longer reporting - thanks. Better than reporting incorrect information, but hopefully they can get it recalibrated and back up soon. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help (Brian Patterson in Manson, WA).

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  12. I have a half Ironman in enemclaw wa on Saturday! That's 7 plus hours of outdoor exercise. My concern is the air quality and recommendations. #blackdiamondtri

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    1. Very unlikely there will be east winds in Enumclaw on Saturday, so it will most likely remain upwind of the bulk of WA fires (i.e. decent air quality). However there is some uncertainty over Oregon/ California smoke making its way to western WA later this week, so please watch the forecasts.

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  13. From everything I've been hearing about the ash falling, I'm pleased that the air quality, at least here in Olympia, isn't any worse. Is the smoke layer fairly high in the atmosphere with the heavier stuff falling?

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    1. Yes, correct. However smoke has been mixing to the surface during the day, progressively worsening air quality.

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  14. We were planning on heading up to Northern Cascades National Park for a few days starting this Sunday. Any indication how bad the smoke is up there and when it's expected to dissipate?

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    1. Sunday should be mostly OK in the western part of the N.Cascades but there *might* be smoke from Tuesday for a few days. At this point we're uncertain if east winds will materialize. If they do, there is a good chance that smoke from the Diamond Creek Fire near Mazama could get swept westward. Very uncertain, but AQ could vary from Good to Unhealthy early next week.

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  15. Blaine, Wa. Is fairing really well. I'm up here next to the water and the air is very clear.

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  16. Spokane is going on multiple days of hazardous air.
    How do I find locations of clean air shelters?

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  17. Your best bet may be to contact your local Emergency Engagement Office. Go to the "Local Gov" tab above. Find your county in the list. Here is some info from that page. SPOKANE Emergency Management (509) 477-2204.

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  18. A planned 6 day hike, Sunrise and Paradise area beginning September 17...your thoughts on air quality.

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    1. First, you may want to contact Mt Rainier NP to see if there are any closed trails to Sunrise since the White River park entrance has been closed. https://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm As far as air quality, Sept 17 is a bit far out for a forecast. Please check back on this site for state forecast updates as your date gets closer.

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  19. We were going to try to head out to the Olympic Peninsula for 3-4 days to get away from the smoke leaving this Saturday. We talked to some folks in Port Angeles and it appears the smoke has made it out there too. Any expectations for the smoke to dissipate out on the Peninsula this weekend and early next week?

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    1. Olympic Peninsula was in bad shape for a few days but nowhere as bad as eastern WA. They're on the mend and should have mostly Good air by tonight. Fly in the ointment is the forecast for Monday- Tuesday: not sure as yet if the smoke might return there but early indications are that it wont be as bad as this episode. And significantly better than eastern WA.

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