Smoky air returns to Seattle through at least Wednesday


Climate change may be a contributing factor to the alerts and to poor air quality, said meteorologist David Brown.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is telling residents in Snohomish, King, Pierce, and Kitsap Counties to stay indoors Tuesday, with all windows and doors shut, avoiding outside air as much as possible. The advisory runs through 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Air quality in Vancouver was expected to worsen significantly as the day went on.

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It's the second time in a week smoke from wildfires has pushed the state's air quality into unsafe level.

The Wildfire Service said about 550 fires were burning in the province, but there weren't many lightning strikes over the weekend and that gave crews a chance to concentrate on some of the 54 blazes that were threatening people or property.

Massive clouds of choking smoke from the wildfires has prompted air quality advisories for much of Western Canada and also forced the cancellations of two triathlons in B.C.'s Okanagan region on Sunday.

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"When we start to usually see issues is with orange which is unhealthy for sensitive groups so you're talking about the elderly, children, pregnant woman and people with respiratory illness", she said.

There are 17 large fires burning on more than 300,000 acres across Washington and OR with about 8,200 fire personnel deployed, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

Smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region, depending on the wind, the temperature, and wildfire activity. "It's substantial. Air quality definitely has an impact on public health". Forecasters expect some relief and air circulation by late Wednesday. A stronger push will occur in the evening hours.

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Satellite images show strong northeast winds carried smoke across the Cascades from fires burning in Eastern Washington on Monday afternoon.