Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

The 2015 wildfire season in the Pacific Northwest is the worst yet. Hundreds of fires are burning in Washington, Idaho, Montana, northern California, Oregon and British Columbia. In Washington, it's the largest wildfire complex in state history.

Smoke is much worse this year because of the huge size of the wildfires and an inversion layer that is preventing the smoke from dissipating. Choking smoke has blanketed much of Central and Eastern Washington and some days has even traveled west across the Cascade Mountains. The smoke stings the eyes and throat and causes coughing, runny nose, and headache. These symptoms may happen sooner for children and older adults, those with heart or lung disease, and outdoor workers. People are concerned.

Last year we created a downloadable fact sheet, How to Protect Yourself From Wildfire Smoke with information about exposure to smoke and what to do.

These two websites give current information about smoke and air quality in Washington:

Washington Smoke Information
State air quality map, Washington Department of Ecology

As I write in late August, rain is forecast. Let's hope rain will slow the wildfires, help clear the smoke, and give firefighters and community members a chance to catch their breath.
-- Marilyn Hair

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