Smoke from wildfires is clogging the sky across the U.S. West, blotting out mountains and city skylines from Oregon to Colorado, delaying flights and forcing authorities to tell even healthy adults in the Seattle area to stay indoors.
Seattle’s Space Needle was swathed in haze, and it was impossible to see nearby mountains Monday and Tuesday.
Below, find tips from the Washington State Department of Health on how to stay healthy during smoky air conditions.
- Stay indoors and keep the air there as clean as possible by keeping windows and doors closed and running an air conditioner if possible (set to recirculate, closing the fresh-air intake and regularly changing the filter).
- Don't add to your indoor pollution. That means not burning candles or incense and not using food boilers, fireplaces, gas stoves or vacuuming inside with a vacuum that doesn't have a HEPA filter. (Read why you shouldn't vacuum here.)
- Stay hydrated.
- If you don't have an air conditioner and are feeling hot with the windows closed, close your curtains to reduce heat gain and use fans to circulate the air.
- Don't exercise outside.
- Stay updated by regularly checking the air quality reports (or this map) and listening to the news and health warnings for your community.
Additionally, if you have asthma or a lung disease, you should speak with your doctor and follow their directions.
As large cities deal with unhealthy air for a second summer in a row, experts warn that it could become more common as the American West faces larger and more destructive wildfires because of heat and drought blamed on climate change.
Officials also must prioritize resources during the longer firefighting season, so some blazes may be allowed to burn in unpopulated areas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
To use the embedded map below, click "Air Monitoring Sites" in the gray box at the middle of the map screen and let the data load.
More smoke-related news from KIRO 7:
- In Washington state, smoky skies, hazardous air
- Washington health officials: Don't vacuum during smoky air without HEPA filter
- Berkeley Earth-inspired app: In Seattle today, air is like smoking over 7 cigarettes
- Map with real-time air quality conditions for Washington state cities
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