Wednesday, September 19, 2012

9/19/12 Air quality in Wenatchee remains hazardous

Washington Department of Ecology news

                Air quality in Wenatchee remains hazardous

      SPOKANE   Smoke from wildfires continues to create hazardous air conditions in the Wenatchee area today for the eighth day in a row. Residents along the east side of the Cascades from Yakima northward through the Methow Valley to Omak continue bracing against the onslaught of smoke. 

      Ellensburg experienced some clearing Tuesday, but it was short-lived and the area filled in with smoke overnight. Ellensburg was the only part of the east Cascades region to get a slight reprieve Tuesday.

      All residents in the Wenatchee area should stay indoors and limit their physical activities. Doors and windows should remain closed.

      Aside from the very northern counties in Eastern Washington north of Highway 2, the smoke will continue today with little daytime clearing. Conditions are not expected to improve significantly in the next several days.

      In far Eastern Washington, most areas have “good” to “moderate” air quality today, but Moses Lake has seen some excursions into the “unhealthy for sensitive populations” zone, according to Air Quality Advisory categories ( Sensitive populations are young children, older adults and people with breathing problems such as asthma. 

      The National Weather Service continues an air stagnation advisory for the eastern foothills of the Cascades and for the Clarkston area of Whitman County (

      The Wenatchee Complex Fire pushed air quality into the hazardous zone for the first time since the state began monitoring small particle pollution including smoke. The smoke hazard recorded at Wenatchee has been about three times higher than any other readings recorded by Washington state monitors since the 1980s.

      In 2006, a wildfire known as the Tripod Complex Fire burned for about two months in the Methow Valley, causing what was then the highest concentrations of small particle pollution ever measured in Washington.

      Follow air quality online at the Washington Department of Ecology wildfire/smoke Web page:  Go to Ecology’s home page at  and click on “Wildfire smoke updates” on the right side under “Spotlight.”  The direct link is:


Media Contacts:

Jani Gilbert, Communications, 509-329-3495; cell, 509-990-9177;

Ecology’s website:

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