Poor air quality hits central, southern Washington due to fire smoke

Poor air quality hits central, southern Washington due to fire smoke

Wash. - The Department of Ecology has issued an Air Quality Alert throughout the week.

[Update, August 7] The Weather Service (NWS) out of Pendleton said the department issued the alert through noon, August 12 for the counties of Kittitas, Yakima, Klickitat, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla and Columbia.

Wildfires in eastern Washington, British Columbia and Montana have created smoke in the central and southern Washington area as north to northeast winds push smoke around throughout the week.

Related: Wildfire smoke causes burn ban in Yakima County until further notice

[Update: 3:30 p.m., July 31] The Benton County Clean Air Agency (BCCAA) said air has reached unhealthy, "red" levels as a result of smoky conditions.

Leaders with BCCAA and NWS said everyone should limit time spent on outdoor activities.

They are especially cautioning those who work outdoors, children, the elderly and people who suffer from respiratory complications that pollutants in smoke could cause burning eyes, runny nose, and could aggravate heart and lung disease.

Respiratory illnesses include asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.

Anyone who experiences respiratory distress is urged to contact their physician.

Ongoing updates can be found at Washington Smoke Information.

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