Monday, August 11, 2014

MEDIA RELEASE

Date:  August 11, 2014
Contact: Kasey Knutson, Public Information Officer, 509-962-7515


Multiple Fires in Kittitas Causes Poor Air Quality
Sensitive populations advised to limit outdoor activity

Smoke from multiple fires in Kittitas County is causing poor air quality conditions.  According to the Washington State Department of Ecology air quality monitoring site in Ellensburg, the air is “very unhealthy” as of 5:00 am today.  The range of air quality categories include good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, very unhealthy, and hazardous.  Air quality could continue to be poor while the fires burn. 

During these conditions, everyone should try to limit their outdoor activity, avoid excessive exertion, avoid exposure to tobacco smoke or other respiratory irritants, and remain indoors with windows and doors closed.  This recommendation is especially important for sensitive groups which include:
  • People with pre-existing lung or heart conditions such as asthma or emphysema, diabetes, or other respiratory infections;
  • People who have had a stroke;
  • Infants, children, and adults older than 65; and
  • Pregnant women.

Air conditioning units should be set on “recycle” or “recirculate” mode to reduce introduction of contaminated outdoor air.  People without air conditioning need to take precautions against heat stress and should consider temporarily relocating to an area with better air quality such as a friend’s house, relative’s house, or a public space. 

Adverse symptoms may include dizziness, headache, difficulty breathing, coughing, excessive phlegm, and nausea.  Please contact your health care provider if you experience any of these symptoms.

Current air quality monitoring can be seen on the Washington State Department of Ecology air monitoring site: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/

Information about health effects from wild fire smoke can be found on the Washington State Department of Health site: http://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/AirQuality/OutdoorAir/SmokeFromFires.aspx

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