SPOKANE, Wash. — The air quality in Spokane remains in the unhealthy for some category on Wednesday as multiple wildfires burn throughout the Inland Northwest.
As of 3:35 p.m. on Wednesday, the air quality index was 105, according to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency. A moderate air quality determination means the air is acceptable, but for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution. The air quality index is based on fine particle pollution and ground-level ozone.
In a tweet on Tuesday, KREM's Thomas Patrick showed how visible the haze is over the majority of eastern Washington. The hazy skies are expected to stick around through Wednesday.
The smoke is coming from multiple fires. There are some burning in the Idaho Panhandle, Eastern Washington and Canada. The Chuweah Creek Fire/Joe Moses Road Fire near Nespelem, Washington, in Okanogan County has burned 11,000 acres so far and the Red Apple Fire in Chelan County has grown to an estimated 5,000 acres.
Here are some ways to protect you and your home from wildfire smoke:
- Masks: N-95 and N-100 masks are the best to block smoke particles.
- Get an air filter: Make sure it contains a HEPA filter, which can reduce smoke particles
- Designate a 'clean room': The health department recommends picking a “clean room” where you can spend time when it’s smoky outside, such as your bedroom. Ideally the room would have few windows and doors and no fireplace. Plan on keeping your air filter in here.
- Keep medication handy: Everyone is susceptible to wildfire smoke, but some groups are at greater risk, including children, seniors, pregnant women, and people with illnesses, according to the health department. If you have heart or lung disease or asthma, ask your doctor what precautions you should take when spending time around wildfire smoke.
- Reduce ventilation in your home: Using the bathroom fan and using the fan over the stove while cooking brings in a lot of outside air.