Air quality isn't good around Inland Northwest but it's been way worse

KREM 2's Ryan Simms checks out the air quality in Spokane and looks into how the smoke will affect us.

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Air quality levels are dropping as smoke drifts our way and alerts are in effect Wednesday for Spokane, Stevens, and Okanogan counties. They remain in effect until noon Saturday.

Winds from the north are blowing smoke from wildfires toward our direction and we see days like this virtually every summer.

Now to the health and science of this. Should you head outdoors these next few days? The answer depends on who you are.

On Wednesday in Spokane, the air quality index is around 90 which meaning air quality is moderate. Most people should be okay but it can be unhealthy for folks who tend to have severe breathing problems.

Air conditions this week will be nothing compared to August 21, 2015, the day ash literally fell from the sky as we grappled with the devastating aftermath of the Okanagon Complex Fires.

The air quality index on that day was 171, which is a red alert, meaning everyone will start to get sick should they be in these conditions a while. Officials said red alerts are very rare.

They happened five times in 2015 but none have happened in 2016 and none have happened so far in 2017.

The takeaway here is if you have horrible breathing problems stay inside.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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