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More smoke could be on the way after recent run of bad air quality across Puget Sound Region

SEATTLE — Air quality conditions have improved since Seattle had the worst air quality in the world earlier this week, but more smoke could be on the way. That has the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) watching conditions to see how it could all play out for the rest of the summer.

KIRO 7 was in Lakewood just a few days ago, when a smoky haze plagued the area. PSCAA Air Resources Specialist Dr. Phil Swartzendruber admitted that it was a relatively early taste of bad air quality. The situation changed in just a matter of days, and by Friday air quality had vastly improved, but fire season could make things difficult in the summer months to come.

Right now, PSCAA says we’ve been lucky that we haven’t had many fires in Oregon and Washington for this time of year. The agency does say that we could see a return to poor air in the coming months when we are certain to see more fire and smoke.

Swartzendruber says air flow has helped us, but there are prospects for more smoke to foul the air.

“We’re actually likely to get some -- there’s a decent chance we could get more Canadian wildfire smoke mid-next week -- there’s some smoke that’s coming out to the west curling around,” he predicted. “It may come back and visit us next week.”

“I don’t think it’s going to be really bad,” he added.

Dr. Swartzendruber says a stray shower won’t help with the dry conditions, and a decent soaking rain is what’s needed to help with the fire situation. He did say that the risk for fire smoke and bad air is only increasing, but it’s hard to say right now if we will see extremely poor air relatively soon.

As of Friday morning, the WA DNR Dashboard was showing that more than 20,000 acres have burned across Washington, due to more than 800 fires.

Whether fires listed on the dashboard send smoke and bad air our way depends on how big the fires get. The Tunnel Five Fire at the Washington/Oregon border is an example of the type of fire south of us that could send smoke and bad air north across our region.