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.