Like much of the western U.S., our region has seen an increase in the number of unhealthy air quality days that are due to wildfire smoke. During three of the last four years, smoke from wildfires caused unhealthy air quality on 42 days.
|Wildfire Season||# days smoke from wildfires exceeded health-based air quality standards|
Fires threaten lives, property, destroy natural resources and the smoke can affect everyone's health. Smoke is a complex mix of gases and fine particles.
During the summer we can have poor air quality due to wildfire smoke (fine particles), ground-level ozone, or a combination of these two pollutants.
The Current Air Quality Index reports the dominant pollutant for that particular hour. Even when we have lots of wildfire smoke, ozone may be the dominant pollutant that is driving the air quality index. This is mostly likely to occur during daylight hours because sunlight is needed to form ozone. Wildfire smoke contains ozone precursors, such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, as well as fine particulates.
Our partner, the Spokane Regional Health District, provides health-related information about smoke as well as home and emergency preparedness steps.
Check out Frequently-asked questions for helpful information about wildfire smoke.
Because we may experience significant smoke again, it’s wise to be prepared. This is especially important for the health of children, older adults and people with heart or lung disease.
To help, we’ve provided links to several resources (green column on the left.)