SPOKANE, Wash. — The Washington State Department Of Ecology air quality map is showing the first signs of better quality air.
As the smoke is projected to move out, green dots signifying satisfactory air with little or no air pollution risk are starting to pop up on the air quality map. The first two green dots near Spokane appeared in Cheney and Green bluff Saturday morning.
Strong winds pushed a thick layer of smoke across the Inland Northwest as wildfires burn in British Columbia, Montana, Idaho and parts of Oregon. Because of the smoke, The National Weather Service issued an air quality alert at the beginning of August. Since then, Spokane’s air quality index became the fifth worst in the nation.
Now, the air quality is gradually improving. Those first few green dots are just the start. The strong winds that pushed the smoke into the area are expected to push the smoke out. Meteorologist Jeff Cote with the National Weather Service said Spokane should see a gradual transition through the weekend, with much of the improvement happening on Sunday.
Air Monitoring Section Manager Mark Rowe with the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency said “although strong winds are expected to clear out the smoke, it may also kick up dust in the area.” Dust in the area may still cause respiratory problems for people with allergies.
The revolving theme seems to be ‘slow and steady.’ Overall, both Cote and Rowe said yes, the smoke will clear out and our air quality index will drop down, but it is just a matter of time.