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- Wildfire Smoke & Air Quality
Wildfire Smoke & Air Quality
Find Current Air Quality Conditions Near You
The icons on the map are clickable. Click a:
- Colored icon on the map to get more details about particle pollution at your location, including information on actions to take to protect your health.
- Squares denote PurpleAir sensors (Northeast Tri County Health District, community members, etc.)
- Circles denote permanent air quality monitors (WA Dept. of Ecology, US Forest Service, etc.)
- Triangles denote temporary air quality monitors (WA Dept. of Ecology, US Forest Service, etc.)
- Fire icon for information about fire.
For more information about the map, please see this guide.
Health Risks of Wildfire Smoke
Breathing in wildfire smoke by itself can produce harmful health effects. These range from minor symptoms such as eye, nose, and throat irritation or headaches, to more severe symptoms like shortness of breath, chest tightness, asthma attacks and worsening existing chronic conditions. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of smoke. Sensitive groups include:
- People with health conditions such as asthma, COPD, diabetes, or other heart and lung diseases, or people who have had a stroke
- Children under 18
- Adults over 65
- People who are pregnant
- People who smoke
- People with other respiratory illnesses
Stay informed of the latest air quality conditions near you and learn about steps you can take to reduce your exposure.
Masks and Wildfire Smoke
The most effective ways to protect yourself from wildfire smoke are to stay indoors, limit time outdoors and reduce physical activity. People who must be outside in smoky air may benefit from wearing masks. The right mask with the proper fit can reduce your exposure to wildfire smoke.
What face mask should I get?
N95 respirators are the cheapest and most available mask to help protect your lungs from wildfire smoke. They are generally available at hardware stores and pharmacies. Make sure the mask is:
- Certified by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- Not a one-strap paper dust mask or surgical mask. It should have two straps that go around your head.
- A size that fits over your nose and under your chin. It should seal tightly to your face. If the mask does not fit properly, it may not provide any protection. Mask with a relief valve will make breathing easier.
Using respirator masks can make it harder to breathe. Anyone with lung or heart disease should check with their health care provider before using any mask.
Factors to Consider for Cancelling Outdoor Activities and Events
- What is the forecast for how long wildfire smoke levels will remain high?
- Agency monitors are available on the Washington Smoke Blog Map.
- Are smoke conditions getting worse, getting better, or staying about the same?
- Is there an option to relocate to an area with cleaner air?
- Is the visibility safe for driving?
More specific information for cancelling outdoor events and activities can be found below:
Steps to Reduce Exposure
- Limit duration and intensity of outside physical activity.
- Stay inside with cleaner indoor air:
- Close windows and doors, unless it is too hot to maintain safe temperatures.
- Don't add to indoor air pollution, such as cigarette smoking or burning candles.
- Filter indoor air through an HVAC system, HEPA portable air cleaner, or DIY box fan filter (You Tube Video by Colville Tribes Air Quality Program).
- If unable to maintain clean air at home, go elsewhere for cleaner air such as a friend's place, public space, or unimpacted area.
- If you must be outside, wear a properly fitted, NIOSH-approved particulate respirator, such as an N95 mask.
More information on improving ventilation and minimizing occupant exposures and health impacts from smoke during wildfire and prescribed burn events specific to commercial buildings and schools can be found on the website below:
- Framework for Protecting Commercial Building Occupants from Smoke During Wildfire Events by ASHRAE
- Improving Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality During Wildfire Smoke Events recommendations for schools and buildings with mechanical ventilation
- Wildfire Smoke and Washington Workers
- Be Prepared - Take Action to Help Prevent or Reduce Damage Caused by Wildfires
- Northwest Interagency Coordination Center provides detailed information about current wildfire events
- Inciweb is an all-risk incident information management system that helps the public obtain relevant information.