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.

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