Wildfire smoke, firework smog clears, air quality improves over Puget Sound

Jul 6, 2023, 6:58 AM | Updated: 7:59 am

air quality wildfire...

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 12: Smoke from wildfires fills the air along Alaskan Way on September 12, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. According to the National Weather Service, the air quality in Seattle remained at "unhealthy" levels Saturday after a large smoke cloud from wildfires on the West Coast settled over the area. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

Update 6:58 a.m.:

Air quality is beginning to improve from Seattle on to Tacoma, with smoke expected to continue clearing out on Thursday.

Carly Kovachic from the National Weather Service in Seattle said that wildfires contributed to this week’s poor air but the worst of the haze was primarily from fireworks.

“Yesterday was very hazy, especially during the morning hours, we are looking at some haze lingering across portions of the area, so it is possible that some will wake up and see some haze and some will not,” Kovachic said.

As of early Thursday morning, air quality in between Seattle and Puyallup sat at the “moderate level,” while Tacoma is back up to “good.” This comes after a tough day for smoke on Wednesday, where the AQI level in many parts of the South Sound ranged between “unhealthy” and “hazardous.”


After a series of wildfires sprung up over the holiday weekend, many have noticed a haze hanging over the Puget Sound and it being more difficult to breathe.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) for the region is among the worst in the country and world due to what the National Weather Service Seattle calls a mix of smog from Fourth of July fireworks and the nearby wildfire smoke.

As of 2:45 p.m. PT, IQ Air ranked Seattle’s AQI at 76, second in the country after Los Angeles for worst air quality overall. Portland, Oregon,  ranked third worst. Overall, Seattle was at 16th in the world for worst air quality.

Wildfires’ danger: A threat to Seattle air quality again this year

With a 76, Seattle has an AQI of “moderate,” with parts north and south of the city considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” In Tacoma and Everett, the air quality is rated “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” An AQI of 0-50 is considered “good.”

The American Lung Association‘s 2023 State of the Air Report detailed data on 12 counties in Washington and how the air quality in the area was during wildfire season in 2022. Clark, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Okanogan, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Whatcom, and Yakima counties all received an “F” grade in particle pollution trends. Skagit County was the lone location with an “A” grade.

More from the State of the Air report: 11 Washington counties receive failing grades

“Wildfires in the western U.S. are a major contributing factor to the increasing number of days and places with unhealthy levels of particle pollution,” the report read. “They are also increasing the severity of pollution, resulting in a sharp rise in the number of days designated as either purple or maroon.”

Air quality is expected to improve by Thursday afternoon.

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Wildfire smoke, firework smog clears, air quality improves over Puget Sound