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How is air quality affected during air stagnations?

The National Weather Service has extended the air stagnation advisory through Tuesday, December 8. This is due to a high pressure system that is expected to remain in place for the next several days.

How does an air stagnation affect air quality?

When the air is stagnant, it means the air isn’t moving. When this happens, air pollutants aren’t able to disperse and can therefore become more concentrated and can reach unhealthy levels. To help keep air pollution levels within the health-based standards, Spokane Clean Air can issue temporary restrictions on wood burning.

What happens during a temperature inversion?

When a temperature inversion is in place, there is a warmer layer of air above a colder layer of air near the Earth’s surface. This warmer air is like a lid, trapping pollutants near ground level where we are breathing. During winter, temperature inversions are very strong given the shorter days (less heating of hte Earth’s surface).

How will this affect the Air Quality Index?

Because of the current conditions, the Spokane area’s air quality may reach the upper limit of the Air Quality Index Moderate/Yellow range or higher at times Friday, December 4 – Monday, December 7.

How can you help?

Although no restrictions are currently in place limiting outdoor burning and wood heating, if you can voluntarily wait until the weather pattern changes, or limit burning, please do so. 

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