Air quality to worsen in Northwest as smoke returns

Frederick Owens
August 25, 2018

A shift in the wind pattern is expected to bring more dense smoke throughout western Manitoba which will continue into the southern parts later tonight.

There are 17 large fires burning on more than 300,000 acres across Washington and OR with about 8,200 fire personnel deployed, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. "It's substantial. Air quality definitely has an impact on public health".

Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. "When you get into red, you're talking about unhealthy for everyone".

Dr. Trevor Corneil, chief medical officer for Interior Health, the Okanagan's provincial health-care co-ordinator, said Sunday even professional triathletes could struggle if particulate entered their lungs and bloodstream.

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And if that wasn't bad enough, ash started falling from Tacoma to Seattle and beyond Monday night. Residents in Gold Bar, Gig Harbor and Seattle reported seeing it floating in the air and on cars.

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Advisories for unhealthy air have also been in place at Montana's Glacier National Park, in eastern Washington and along the West Coast.

In British Columbia, more than 10,000 homes across the province are on alert to evacuate due to the almost 600 wildfires burning, BC Wildfire Service spokesman Kevin Skrepnek said.

"Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help", stated the advisory.

With air quality at "unhealthy" levels in much of the Portland metro area, many people are deciding to stay indoors.

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe says the smoke has suppressed temperatures across five to seven degrees, but the fire danger is still high to extreme. The ban covers Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Port Orchard, among other locations.

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