Wildfires cloud Western skies with risky smoke, haze

Wildfires cloud Western skies with risky smoke, haze

Wildfires cloud Western skies with risky smoke, haze

In Spokane, air quality slipped into the "hazardous" range.

Officials say air quality over the area is poor because of smoke from wildfires and terrain that traps smoke in valleys. Kitsap County and areas near the Cascade foothills are experiencing air quality ranging from moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Katherine Benenati the Spokesperson for the OR department of environmental quality says if you look at the map every dot represents an air quality monitor. Forecasters expect some relief and air circulation by late Wednesday.

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With air quality at "unhealthy" levels in much of the Portland metro area, many people are deciding to stay indoors.

As of noon Tuesday, a day spent outside in Seattle was like smoking five cigarettes, according to air-quality comparisons made by Berkeley Earth.

Air pollution in the Tacoma area Monday was worse than some of the world's most populated cities like Bejing and Delhi, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's air-quality index.

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Henderson suggested using portable air cleaners indoors to keep the air as clean as possible during smoky conditions.

There are 17 large fires burning on more than 300,000 acres across Washington and OR with about 8,200 fire personnel deployed, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

Children are vulnerable to illness because their lungs are developing and low-income earners are at risk because they're less likely to have well-sealed homes and air conditioning, Climate Central reported. A wider air quality warning is forecast to remain in effect through at least noon Tuesday. You can find additional information about health and indoor and outdoor air quality on the MPCA Air Quality and Health webpage.

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Public health experts treat wildfire smoke as a pollutant, similar in many ways to ozone or automobile emissions.

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