Wildfire smoke is blowing into our region. Areas near the Cascades can expect air quality that is unhealthy for sensitive groups (USG) on Friday, September 9. The rest of our region could reach moderate to USG by Saturday, September 10.
High fire danger is possible from September 9-11, with critical fire weather conditions forecast for both the Cascades and portions of the lowlands.
Protect Your Health When Air is Smoky
Smoke from wildfires in the Central to Northern Cascades is filtering into NW Washington and will impact the air quality. Residents are encouraged to take precautions as air quality may reach unhealthy levels.
Check the air quality forecast. Air quality conditions may change quickly. Go to Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s map or follow them on Twitter for the current smoke level report for your area. Stay indoors when possible. Limit your physical activity outdoors (including running, biking, physical labor and sports.)
- When the air looks and smells smoky, it is not the best time for outdoor activities. Use your best judgement.
- To limit your time outdoors, stock up on necessities like food, medications, and other items you may need for your family.
- A high-efficiency HEPA filter used in your air cleaner or HVAC system can help keep your indoor air clean.
- You can also make a filter fan to help clean your indoor air. All you need is a box fan, furnace filter (MERV-13 or better), and a bungee cord or tape. Step-by-step instructions can be found here.
- Designate a room in your home to be a “clean room.” This room should have as few windows or doors as possible, or they should be closed, to keep smoke out. Use an indoor air cleaner or filter fan to make the room even cleaner. Find out more here.
- If you have an air conditioner, close the fresh air intake if available so you can keep smoky air out of your home.
If your health conditions get worse around smoke, contact your health care provider. Check on elderly or at-risk neighbors. Call 9-1-1 if you or someone else has serious symptoms, like trouble breathing.
A storm system should help clear out the smoke late Sunday or Monday.
Red Flag Warning and Burn Ban
A red flag warning is in place from Friday afternoon through Sunday. A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either imminent or occurring. Any fires that develop will likely spread quickly. Outdoor burning is not recommended.
The King County Fire Chiefs have issued a Stage 2 Burn Ban effective Friday, September 9. This Burn Ban prohibits recreational fires until further notice. Outdoor fires, including recreational campfires, cooking fires, and ceremonial fires are prohibited until further notice.
Wildfire Safety Tips
- Properly discard cigarettes
- Keep vehicles off of dry grass
- Avoid activities with open flames or sparks
- Avoid power equipment that creates sparks
- Obey burn bans
- Evacuate if fire/smoke is heading your way
- Evacuate if ordered to do so by local officials