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Smoke from Canada may affect local air quality, Air Quality Alert issued by Ecology

satelitte image of smoke models showing smoke from Canada drifting down to Northwestern US

Wednesday, May 17th – A northerly flow is transporting some elevated fine smoke particles (PM-2.5) into the region from Canadian wildfires, adding a layer of haze to the partly cloudy skies. Most of the smoke is remaining aloft, but conditions may allow some of it to mix down to the surface as skies clear and temperatures increase tomorrow. Depending on the winds and wildfire activity, air quality could potentially reach the Air Quality Index (AQI) category of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups/Orange briefly on Thursday. Check the current AQI at spokanecleanair.org/air-quality/current-air-quality/ for hourly updates.

The Washington Department of Ecology has announced an Air Quality Alert for all of Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Spokane, Adams, and Whitman counties from 4 p.m. on Wednesday May 17, through 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 20, due to expected wildfire smoke from Canada. PM2.5 levels may reach Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups/Orange on the AQI.

Health Impacts and Recommended Actions: When air quality is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, sensitive persons may experience health effects and should limit prolonged or heavy exertion and limit time spent outdoors. When air quality is Unhealthy, everyone should limit their time outdoors, and people with asthma, respiratory infections, diabetes, lung or heart disease should stay indoors.

For more resources about wildfire smoke and ways to protect your indoor air quality, visit spokanecleanair.org/air-quality/wildfire-smoke/

Image below shows the dispersion of smoke from Canadian wildfires. Fire and Smoke Map (airnow.gov)

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