Wildfire smoke alert continues for Puget Sound region through Sunday

Image courtesy wasmoke.blogspot.com.

A wildfire smoke alert for serious health problems continues from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the health departments of King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.

Unhealthy air is expected throughout the day Saturday and it will be unhealthy for sensitive groups on Sunday.

Winds blowing from the west should begin to clear out the smoke by late Sunday or early next week, the announcement said, although smoke may continue to enter the region throughout the week.

Fire marshals in King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties have issued fire safety burn bans prohibiting outdoor burning including recreational fires.

Everyone should take precautions, especially infants, children, and people over 65, or those that are pregnant, have heart or lung diseases (such as asthma or COPD), respiratory infections, diabetes, stroke survivors, and those suffering from COVID-19:

  • Stay at home when possible.
  • Limit your activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, sports or hobbies.
  • Close windows in your home, if possible, to keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use it in recirculation mode. Make sure your home ventilation system is maintained following manufacturer recommendations (e.g., replace filters regularly). Don’t contribute to indoor air pollution. Use aportable air cleaner if available.
  • Heat can be dangerous too. If it becomes unbearably hot, it’s better to open the windows for a short period of time.
  • Masks with the label “N95” or “N100” are the most effective type of mask that protects you from air pollution, but due to ongoing COVID-19 response those are reserved for health care and other frontline workers for now. While cloth face coverings are recommended to reduce the spread of COVID-19, they offer limited protection from air pollution and wildfire smoke and must be properly worn. Any mask or face covering should be used only as a last resort to protect against wildfire smoke. More information on COVID-19 mask do’s and don’ts can be found here.
  • Check with your health care provider for more specific health questions and concerns. As always, seek medical attention if symptoms are serious.

For more information on ways to reduce your exposure to smoke, see the Washington Department of Health’s Smoke From Fire tips.

Air quality conditions may change quickly. Check the air quality forecast regularly at the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s website.

 

  1. Does anyone find it curious that Canada; British Columbia and Alberta, don’t have the same climate change caused wild fires that are reported to be the causes of the wild fires here in Washington, Oregon and California? They have wild fires – but they are caused by lighting strikes. – OR – can we attribute the fires to the antifa, anti-American movement being the causes of the fires as reported by verified stories from citizen journalist?

    Does the climate change scenario stop at the American boarder?

    When President Trump is re-elected, the truth will be revealed!

  2. Canada has a different lands management program, we actually import lumber from them. There are thousands of acres of land burning that is simply over grown, where there should be 100 trees there are 1,000 and this increases the chances and the severity of fires.

    Because of environmental concerns we no longer harvest these burned trees while they are still usable, as much as 70% of the carbon release in these trees come after this point, doesn’t make sense from a climate impact point of view.

    As you mention we have a much larger problem with arson than Canada, especially this year, but its also things like not being willing to invest in zone shutdown ability in the power system. We keep smaller areas experiencing high wind online so we don’t have to shut down entire grids, resulting in fires that could be prevented.

    1. Yes, Anthony, you have it right. There is a TEDx talk from 2017 by Paul Hessburg in Oregon about this era of megafires, “Why Wildfires Have Gotten Worse, And What We Can Do About It,” link below:
      https://www.ted.com/talks/paul_hessburg_why_wildfires_have_gotten_worse_and_what_we_can_do_about_it/
      Hessburg presents images comparing historical and modern forest landscapes, as well as animations of differing wildfire behavior.

      I have heard Sue Kuehl Pederson, candidate for State Commissioner of Public Lands, speak, and she addresses this fire issue. From her website (https://citizensforsue.com), “She believes the Commissioner of Public Lands has a Constitutional duty to responsibly manage timber harvests in a way that will improve forest health, reduce forest fires, provide living wage jobs, and support our public schools.”

      In working to resolve budget issues in Olympia, I would like harvesting of our forests to be realized as a revenue source.

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