Air quality alert for Puget Sound region due to wildfire smoke

Monday, August 13, 2018

Warning of a smoky morning Tuesday
This photo was taken on 9-6-2017 at 8:10am
Photo by Carl Dinse

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the local health jurisdictions of King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties have issued an air quality alert. Air pollution is increasing due to wildfire smoke and may cause health problems.

They expect air quality to reach levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS overnight Monday and into Tuesday in many areas. A high pressure system is pushing upper level wildfire smoke down.

Smoke from British Columbia and fires in the Cascades is continuing to build in the Puget Sound region Monday. Winds Tuesday afternoon could help clean the air. 

They do not this to last as long as it did last summer. They are forecasting for GOOD to MODERATE air quality Wednesday and beyond.

Wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems: Chest pain, Fast heartbeat, Coughing, Stinging eyes, Asthma attack, Trouble breathing, Irritated sinuses, Headaches.

  • Sensitive groups should take precautions, including: children, older adults, and people that are pregnant, have heart or lung issues (such as asthma and COPD), or that have had a stroke.
  • Stay indoors when possible.
  • Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, and sports. 
  • Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use the "recirculation" switch. Use an indoor air filter if available. 
  • If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a public library or a community center. 
  • Avoid driving, when possible. If you must drive, keep the windows closed. If you use the car's fan or air conditioning, make sure the system recirculates air from inside the car; don't pull air from outside. 
  • Schools and daycare providers should consider postponing outdoor activities or moving them indoors.
  • N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution. These masks are usually available at hardware and home repair stores. Please check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you. More information here.
  • For more information on ways to reduce your exposure, see the Washington Department of Health's Smoke From Fire tips
  • Air quality conditions may change quickly. Check the air quality forecast regularly at the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's website.
As always, check with your health care provider for more specific questions and concerns.


Anonymous,  August 14, 2018 at 8:49 AM  

I hope my neighbor stops burning his mail to fire up his charcoal grill.

Anonymous,  August 19, 2018 at 8:13 PM  

I wish people in my neighborhood would respect the burn ban

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