LOCAL NEWS

Air quality warning remains in effect through Thursday for Puget Sound region

Sep 14, 2020, 5:11 AM | Updated: 5:54 pm
smoke...
Smoke from wildfires fills the air along Alaskan Way on Sept. 12, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

The National Weather Service expects smoke and poor air quality to persist through most of the week across western Washington.

“Smoke and air quality will continue to remain an issue across [western Washington] for much of the upcoming week as a series of frontal systems have a difficult time moving through the area,” the NWS forecast for Monday predicts.

Air quality is typically measured on a scale of 0 to 500. Between 51 and 100 is considered “moderate,” 101 to 150 is “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” 151 to 200 is “unhealthy,” 201 to 300 is “very unhealthy,” and 301 to 500 is considered “hazardous.”

Check the Air Quality Map

As of Monday afternoon, air quality in areas from Bellingham to Olympia sits around 300. In Seattle, most neighborhoods are above that 300 benchmark in the “hazardous” category. You can monitor ongoing air quality through the Washington Department of Ecology’s interactive map here.

An air quality warning for western Washington — originally set to expire at 11 a.m. Monday — now extends through 12 p.m. Thursday. In eastern Washington, the air quality warning runs through 12 p.m. Friday.

After Monday, things are a little more uncertain, with a “chance of showers” Tuesday and Wednesday in parts of western Washington, “but nothing widespread or organized is expected.”

“It’s hard to say how this will affect smoke across the area,” the NWS notes.

The NWS noted light precipitation in the south Sound on Monday, but said there’s a better chance for showers and possible thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday before conditions dry out over the weekend.

In the meantime, a weekend closure of Seattle parks, beaches, boat ramps, and play fields was extended through the end of Wednesday, Sept. 16. Restrooms in parks will remain open. While the city is not issuing citations, all residents are strongly encouraged to avoid outdoor recreation and remain inside if they are able for the duration of the unhealthy air quality.

Seattle also plans to keep the smoke relief shelter for those experiencing homelessness open until Wednesday. Currently, there are 100 people staying in the SoDo relief shelter, but King County and Salvation Army staff are welcoming as many guests as possible into the shelter without creating unsafe conditions for the spread of COVID-19.

“The continuing poor air quality poses a health risk to every resident in King County, but particularly to those who do not have a home where they can get relief,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Protecting your health

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency recommends staying indoors with the windows closed as much as possible.

The agency’s Dr. Phil Swartzendruber told CBS that people are inhaling what is essentially microscopic tar and creosote, similar to what might collect in your chimney.

“That’s essentially what the smoke is,” Swartzendruber said. “So that’s getting deep into the lungs and penetrating into the lungs. That can aggravate the system, can cause a stressor on the heart and lungs.”

Can COVID masks protect against Washington wildfire smoke?

While smoke remains, residents are advised to keep windows closed and avoid going outdoors whenever possible, especially those with preexisting respiratory problems. Find additional tips from the state Department of Health on how to protect yourself from smoke online here.

“Unhealthy air quality means that everyone, especially sensitive groups, should limit time spent outdoors, avoid strenuous activities outdoors, and choose light indoor activities,” the NWS states.

The Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington has put together a list of tips for dealing with smoke. Besides closing windows and staying indoors, the DEOHS recommends people avoid vacuuming or frying food. Also, try to recirculate air with a fan that has a filter. You can build your own by putting a HEPA filter into a box fan.

Local News

Demonstrators march through downtown following a rally in support of abortion rights on May 3, 2022...
MyNorthwest Staff

Thousands protest throughout Seattle over abortion rights

Protestors congregated at the downtown Federal Building at Marion Street and Second Avenue, led by the Democratic Socialists of America.
2 days ago
(KIRO 7)...
Jordan Duncan

Capitol Hill Pride to move forward with event despite lack of traffic control from SPD

The march is not being permitted because the Seattle Police Department has declined to provide traffic control, citing low staffing levels.
2 days ago
(KIRO 7)...
Shawn Garrett

Get up to $250 in Visa gift cards at Kirkland police’s gun exchange event

A program to exchange guns for gift cards will be hosted by the Kirkland Police Department on Saturday, according to a media release. The event will be held June 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Kirkland Justice Center, located at 11750 Northeast 118th Street. “Kirkland experienced six gun-related suicides since 2020,” said […]
2 days ago
Photo by Elena Di Vincenzo...
MyNorthwest Staff

King County prepares for possibility of another killer heat wave

King County has put together an Extreme Heat Mitigation Strategy to prepare for the rising temperatures set to start this weekend.
2 days ago
Photo by Lindsey Wasson...
Micki Gamez

Seattle is no longer the #1 bike friendly city in the nation

Even though Seattle was knocked off its pedestal, we are still one of the top ten bike-friendly cities in the nation.
2 days ago
Photo from @SeattleSBWU on Twitter...
Logan Gilbert

Starbucks workers go on strike over ‘union busting activity’

Starbucks workers announced they are going on strike today over the treatment of fellow workers.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Air quality warning remains in effect through Thursday for Puget Sound region