Submitted by San Juan County
Due to easterly winds, smoke from fires in Eastern Washington is currently settling over the Puget Sound region. Local and Regional Particulate Matter monitors are reporting unhealthy levels of particulate matter for sensitive groups. Air quality sensors were installed earlier this year by San Juan County to collect local data which are now incorporated into the EPA’s Air Now air quality map linked above.
Particulate Matter 2.5 (particles less than 2.5 micrometers) is the measurement of particulate matter that is being monitored. Particulate Matter 2.5 can be harmful because it can easily be inhaled deep into your lungs.
Wildfire smoke can be unhealthy to breathe, especially for vulnerable people such as those with existing heart or lung disease, children, older adults, and pregnant women. Always pay attention to how the smoke is making you feel and check with your doctor right away for help managing symptoms or any specific concerns.
You can reduce your smoke exposure by following these recommendations:
1. Stay inside with doors and windows closed when it’s smoky. Use towels to block air flow if smoke is coming in through gaps in window or door frames. But don’t overheat! Open doors and windows if you must to cool down. Watch for times when smoke may clear and open windows and doors to clear out smoke that has gotten inside.
2. Reduce indoor pollution you can control. Reduce or eliminate any type of smoking, no vacuuming, no candles, no incense, no aerosol sprays.
3. Take it easy. Smoky air is not good for vigorous activities. Put off chopping wood, mowing the lawn, or going for a run.
4. Set air to recirculate on your HVAC or window air conditioner if you have one.
5. Reduce smoke in your vehicle if you’re out in your car by closing the windows and vents and running the air conditioner on recirculate.
According to the Department of Ecology smoke forecast tool, weather patterns will change and smoke conditions are expected to improve in Western Washington tomorrow.
For additional information, see the Washington Smoke blog.