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Weekend wildfire smoke results in air quality over health standard; Air Quality Alert issued

View of downtown Spokane on a smoky day.

Monday, August 2, 2021 –
Saturday, July 31, 2021 and Sunday, August 1, 2021’s wildfire smoke caused exceedances of the 24-hour, health-based standard for fine particles (PM2.5) for the first time this year. Based on current smoke forecast models, air quality will likely continue to be unhealthy over the next few days, prompting the National Weather Service to relay Air Quality Alerts after coordination with several air quality agencies across the region. The alert is in effect until noon on Thursday and will be reevaluated Thursday morning.

Saturday’s 24-hour PM2.5 was 53.6 micrograms per cubic meter of air or 146 Air Quality Index (AQI) and Sunday’s was 63.2 micrograms/cubic meter of air or 155 AQI. The national, health-based standard for PM2.5 is a 24-hour average not to exceed 35 micrograms/cubic meter of air, or 100 on the AQI.

When air quality reaches unhealthy/red on the AQI, everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

“It is vital that individuals check current air quality conditions and take the necessary steps to protect their health. Inhaling smoke is not good for anyone, even healthy people. We recommend that people who are sensitive to poor air quality stay indoors and keep their indoor air as clean as possible,” said Dr. Francisco Velázquez, Interim Health Officer for Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD). “You should also keep medications on hand and contact your health provider if necessary.”

Find more resources to help protect your health from wildfire smoke on our Wildfire Smoke webpage.

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