Air Quality Release 9/17/12
Incident: Yakima Complex Wildfire
Date: September 17, 2012
Contact: Robin Read, Public Information Officer, 509-962-7515
Poor air quality expected to continue at least through mid-week.
Smoke from multiple fires in the region continues to cause poor air quality in Kittitas County. According to the Washington State Department of Ecology air quality monitoring site in Ellensburg, the air was in the "unhealthy" range this morning. The range of air quality categories include good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, very unhealthy, and hazardous.
In addition, an air stagnation advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service and is in effect through Wednesday afternoon. The air stagnation could result in worsening air quality conditions throughout the week. The Kittitas County Public Health Department (KCPHD) advises Kittitas County residents to take proper precautions.
During these conditions, everyone should try to limit their outdoor activity, avoid excessive physical exertion, avoid exposure to tobacco smoke or other respiratory irritants, and remain indoors with windows and doors closed. This recommendation is especially important for sensitive groups which include:
People with pre-existing lung or heart conditions such as asthma or emphysema, diabetes, or other respiratory infections;
People who have had a stroke;
Infants, children, and adults older than 65;
and Pregnant women.
- Air conditioning units should be set on "recycle" or "recirculate" mode to reduce introduction of contaminated outdoor air. People without air conditioning need to take precautions against heat stress and should consider temporarily relocating to an area with better air quality such as a friend's house, relative's house, or a public space. Adverse symptoms may include dizziness, headache, difficulty breathing, coughing, excessive phlegm, and nausea. Please contact your health care provider if you experience any of these symptoms.
Kittitas County residents, schools, child cares, and sports organizers are encouraged to check the current air quality status on the Washington State Department of Ecology air monitoring site at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/. The Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA) Chart which describes recommendations for each level of air quality can be found at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/App AQI/AQI.en-US.pdf or by clicking on the legend on the air monitoring site. The Kittitas County Health Officer recommends that children and other sensitive populations should be kept indoors and avoid heavy physical activity outdoors anytime the air quality is "unhealthy for sensitive populations" or worse.
Information about health effects from wild fire smoke can be found on the Washington State Department of Health site: http://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/AirQuality/OutdoorAir/SmokeFromFires.aspx