Air quality alert: Expect a smoky, hot weekend across Western Washington

SEATTLE — It will be a hot and hazy weekend.

Air quality alerts and advisories for smoke have been issued for most of Western Washington and parts of Eastern Washington, as smoke from wildfires continues to hang over the region.

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The alert is in effect for Clallam, King, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom counties until 11 a.m. Monday.

“I expect the air to be unhealthy at times, so please keep that in mind if you’re going to any of the many games or events we have this weekend,” KIRO 7 Meteorologist Nick Allard said.

As of Friday afternoon, much of the Eastside -- including Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond and Issaquah -- is experiencing air quality in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” to “unhealthy” range. For the latter category, residents are advised to “reduce activity or consider going indoors” while conditions persist.

The Eastern Washington counties that are affected are Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan, where the alert will remain in effect at least until Monday.

In southwestern Washington, Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties are under an air quality advisory until 11 a.m. Monday. Pacific County on the coast is also under an advisory.

The alert says air quality is expected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups and it may be worse along the Cascade Valleys.

“All sensitive groups should limit spending any time outdoors. People with health conditions may have worsened symptoms. Healthy people may start to have symptoms,” according to the alert.

Air quality experts say what’s in the smoke can be quite harmful to those in sensitive groups.

“Smoke is full of small particles that can simply affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems,” Isha Khanna with Puget Sound Clean Air Agency said.

“Infants, children, elderly population of people over 65, those who are pregnant or anybody who has pre-existing health conditions like heart or lung diseases, respiratory infections,” Khanna said.

Khanna says if people are at risk from the bad air, they should take precautions before heading out.

“So, if they do go outside it would be helpful for them to wear N95 masks to limit their exposure,” Khanna said.

Mariners fans going to Saturday’s playoff game also weighed in about the air quality and why they, too, believe they should be mindful about the air.

“Not super concerning. I mean, we watch what the AQI is. Thankfully, we aren’t the ones running around the field. So, I think we will have to watch and make sure the players are in good shape. Because that’s what I’m more worried about,” fan Kamile Adir-Hatch said.

“I think you’ve got to know your own health and take the necessary precautions,” fan Reid Elliot said.

“For me, I’m young and healthy and so I am not overtly concerned about it, but definitely if you have asthma, or some of those conditions, you wanna wear a mask for sure,” Reid said.


Offshore wind will become much stronger on Saturday, making it breezy out of the east. The wind will be the strongest closer to the Cascade foothills and will push in much more smoke and haze over the area, which will help temperatures rise.

Highs will be in the upper 70s on Saturday. The record high for that day is 77 degrees and the forecast temperature is 79.

“The record for Sunday is 72 and I have us getting to 81, which will be the latest in the year 80 degree day we’ve had,” said Allard.

Sunday night into Monday, the wind direction will shift to more onshore, which will improve air quality and lower temperatures into the upper 60s and lower 70s.

“I’m still hoping the computer models hold and keep some cooler and wetter weather in the forecast for the last week in October,” said Allard.