Wildfire smoke settles in bringing worst air quality of the year

air quality reported by nwcaa station on loomis trail road 2018-08-21 0900
Air quality history graph reported at 10am by NW Clean Air Agency monitoring station on Loomis Trail Road in north Custer (August 21, 2018).

One need only look outside to see the low-lying haze of smoke that permeates not only the Ferndale area, but also most of the Puget Sound lowlands. But officials advise going outside only when necessary.

Current air quality being reported by a NW Clean Air Agency monitoring station on Loomis Trail Road in north Custer reached the “VERY UNHEALTHY” range on the WAQA scale (see graphic above) late yesterday afternoon. It remains within that range as of 10am this morning.

Washington Department of Health officials advise, when air quality is within the “VERY UNHEALTHY” range, everyone should stay indoors, avoid all strenuous activity, close windows and doors if it is not too hot, set your air-conditioning systems to recirculate and use a HEPA air filter if possible.

Washington Department of Ecology officials posted the following to the Washington Smoke Blog this morning.

Western Washington will continue to experience Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy air quality today.  Strong westerly winds are predicted for Wednesday afternoon into Thursday.  Those winds should push most of this lingering smoke out of Western Washington on Thursday.  The coastal region could see some relief on Wednesday evening.  Keep in mind, though, that there is a large area of smoke off the coast that will likely blow back over us on Wednesday.

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National Weather Service Seattle office forecasters said this morning to expect a low level offshore flow today will switch to onshore during the day Wednesday. This should start clearing smoke out of the region Wednesday night and Thursday. But to expect smoke and poor air quality will continue until that process begins.

Officials at the Northwest Clean Air Agency issued a burn ban that includes recreational fires in Whatcom, Skagit and Island Counties as a result of this week’s sudden and severe decline in air quality. That burn ban remains in place until further notice officials said.

 

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