Air quality in the Portland metro area remains 'unhealthy'

Henrietta Brewer
August 22, 2018

The station in Ellensburg reports "very unhealthy" levels of air pollution.

The National Weather Service in Seattle issued an air quality alert through 5 p.m. Wednesday for all of Western Washington because of smoke from large wildfires in British Columbia and on the east slopes of the north Cascades.

The main concern today is areas of widespread smoke continuing to affect air quality and the visibility across the state.

Elsewhere in areas of Washington state, Idaho and OR, the air quality has been ranked as "very unhealthy", with Seattle reaching 249. When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or fatigue.

"You probably want to reduce the level of exercise you're doing outside", Dr. Sack said. According to the Washington Smoke Information blog, there is "no significant smoke clearing expected before Wednesday for most of the state".

The Puget Sound Air Agency has issued a Stage 1 burn ban for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish Counties until further notice and is addition to existing fire safety burn bans. Previous year saw several days of hazardous air quality in September, with Spokane pinned between wildfires to the north, south and east.

Take precautions: Everyone should take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy.

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

Q13 News Chief Meteorologist Walter Kelley says conditions aren't expected to get much better until late Thursday night and Friday, when a slight wind from the Pacific Ocean should push some of the smoke out of the area.

About 550 fires are burning in British Columbia, the Associated Press reported.

Children, the elderly, and those with respiratory illnesses are at most risk of serious health effects.

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