‘A laser beam of smoke’: Puget Sound region air quality takes hit on Wednesday

SEATTLE — Air quality sensors in parts of Seattle and beyond on Wednesday showed that air quality was at “unhealthy” levels for much of the day, according to the Washington Smoke blog.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency advised people in areas with unhealthy air quality to stay inside when possible.

“Near surface smoke that’s led to reduced air quality in the region will remain in the area today,” the National Weather Service tweeted at 8:16 a.m. on Wednesday.

The unhealthy air conditions first appeared in Seattle on Wednesday morning, but then spread mostly north and east.

The worst smoke at the official air quality station closest to downtown Seattle was recorded at 6 a.m. Wednesday, and improved in the hours since.

“The smoke right now is remarkable, it’s really laser focused, it’s like we have a laser beam of smoke hitting Puget Sound,” said Erik Saganić, Technical Analysis Manager for the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

Saganić said that was because the Bolt Creek Fire that’s causing the smoke is so close.

“When we get smoke from Eastern Washington, we’ll often see a more diffuse smoke that the whole region experiences,” he said.

As of 3 p.m., areas of east of Seattle, including Bellevue, Issaquah, Bothell, Kirkland and Woodinville showed unhealthy levels.

The conditions are the result of a plume of smoke from the Bolt Creek Fire, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

“Winds are blowing from Skykomish west to Everett, then south to downtown (Seattle). Stay indoors when possible,” the agency tweeted.

The smoke pushed south Wednesday afternoon and evening, bringing some relief to areas that had heavy smoke since the morning hours.

While you’ll likely see and smell the smoke, areas outside the immediate Puget Sound region were still in the good to moderate air quality range.

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There were plenty of areas which as of 1 p.m. were in the moderate range, including parts of Bellevue, Des Moines, Burien and Kent, among others, according to the Washington Smoke blog.

Still more areas were in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” air quality category.

Air quality improved to largely normal levels for areas not adjacent to the Bolt Creek fire on Thursday.

Sunday looks to be slightly warmer and sunnier than Saturday, but both days of the weekend ought to be good.

We’ll warm up more on Monday with highs in the mid- to-upper 70s and we could see several days of above-normal temperatures next week.

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