Marlene Feist

Smoky Skies Affect Air Quality

Marlene Feist, Public Works Director of Strategic Development, 509.625.6505

Friday, September 11, 2020 at 3:18 p.m.

Smoky Skies Affect Air Quality

Photo taken August 2018

Smoke from wildfires in Eastern Washington, combined smoke from fires in Oregon and California, is expected to impact the Spokane area throughout the weekend.  In coordination with the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality in Lewiston, the National Weather Service has issued an Air Quality Alert until midday Monday.

Forecasts predict that it’s possible that air quality could reach the unhealthy or even the hazardous range during this time. The map developed by the National Weather Service shows the area expected to be impacted by air quality concerns.

Current air quality readings for Spokane are found on the Spokane Clean Air Agency’s web site. Readings are updated hourly. That agency also provides additional information on air quality and concerns about wildfire smoke. The National Weather Service also provides a variety of information on air quality.

As the weekend progresses, citizens should consider tracking air quality information and adjusting weekend plans accordingly. The best way to protect you and your family from the effects of unhealthy air quality will be to stay indoors and keep indoor air as clean as possible. It might not be safe to go to public spaces to seek cleaner and cooler indoor air away from home this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, people sensitive to smoke are also most at risk for COVID-19. Persons with, or recovering from, COVID-19 may be more at risk for negative health effects from wildfire smoke exposure because of compromised lung and heart function.

The City is encouraging those experiencing homelessness to take advantage 24/7 shelters for single adults and families if air quality worsens. Our Community Housing and Human Services (CHHS) staff have been in contact with all shelter providers and outreach staff to highlight the air quality concerns and ask that they continue to provide space to those who need it during this time.

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