What’s Going on With Washington’s Air Quality?

By Sydney Nalamliang

As a consequence of the dry summer weather, wildfires have spread across the West Coast. Families have been forced from their homes, the air quality unhealthy for many, and the smoke spread across the United States. In Washington state alone, there are currently 10 large wildfires that firefighters are battling to contain and extinguish. Oregon has reported 16 that they’re still struggling to manage. To provide support and some relief to Oregon, Mexico has also sent volunteer firefighters.

Washington’s air quality is now beginning to look hopeful as new weather reports show rain is expected in the next few days. In the past week the air quality in the United States has declined to a hazardous air pollution level. The main cause for the smoke pollution in the Greater Seattle Area was Oregon’s wildfires and strong wind, but more recently, fires in Washington have grown and worsened the air quality. Smoke from up and down the West Coast is causing air conditions to decline all the way to the East Coast and as far as southern parts of Canada and the northernmost parts of Mexico. Alaska Airlines, one of the main airlines flying in and out of the Pacific Northwest cancelled several flights to Portland, OR and Spokane, WA for a short period of time on September 14th. This smoke has caused some problems for many children as well, after being kept inside for many months due to the Coronavirus, plenty of students are now returning to school through online learning and had hopes of spending these last few days of freedom outside in the sunshine. Of course while the Coronavirus does continue to spread don’t forget to wear a mask, wash your hands, and socially distance. (For more updated information about current smoke conditions and air quality, see [1] and [2])

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