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Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issues air quality alert

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the Snohomish County Health Department warn residents that current air pollution due to wildfire smoke is very unhealthy and may cause health problems for everyone.

From a September 11, 2020, Snohomish County press release.

This is an alert about wildfire smoke from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the health departments of King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.

Current air pollution due to wildfire smoke may cause health problems.

Heavy smoke from Oregon has entered our region making air quality UNHEALTHY.

Air quality has continued to worsen to VERY UNHEALTHY by Friday afternoon.

We expect UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS to UNHEALTHY air this weekend into early next week.

We will continue to update as conditions change.

Fire marshals in our four-county area of King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties have issued fire safety burn bans prohibiting outdoor burning including recreational fires.

While air quality is VERY UNHEALTHY, everyone may experience more serious health effects.

Everyone should take the following 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 a portable 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 we need to reserve those 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.
  • 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.

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