Hazy skies from wildfires will soon clear, but expert says it’s good to plan for the worst
Wildfire smoke is causing hazy skies in the region. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency says smoke from wildfires started moving into the Puget Sound area late Friday. Phil Swartzenbruder, an air quality scientist with the agency, says it’s difficult to determine which fires are sending the smoke here.
Swartzenbruder said the haze could be from fires in Alaska and Canada or fires burning in Eastern and Central Washington. He said we could even get smoke crossing the ocean from fires in Siberia.
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has lowered the air quality from good to moderate because of the smoke. That means children and older people should consider postponing vigorous outdoor activity.
But, Swartzendruber says, his agency doesn’t expect “meaningful impacts” at the moderate level. He said a change in the winds on Wednesday could clear out the smoke.
“There’s no reason to panic yet,” he said. Still, it’s a reminder that we are in the fire season and should be prepared if the air quality worsens. He says it's a good idea to have a plan in place.
“It could be just making sure you have your medication you need, if you need an inhaler or something like that,” he said. “It could also include finding a location that has some cleaner air for you to hang out in.”
Several community centers in Seattle installed new air filtration systems this year for people wanting to escape wildfire smoke. The Washington Department of Health has advice for living with wildfire on its website.