Published: Wed, August 22, 2018
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Smog, smoke prompt Spare the Air alert for Sunday

Smog, smoke prompt Spare the Air alert for Sunday

The air quality alert is in effect through 9 a.m. Tuesday and includes northeast, central and southwest Minnesota. Hazy conditions will continue through Wednesday before air quality improves Thursday. "If we were near fires, the surface winds and the lower level winds would mean a lot more to us, but right now we are just looking at smoke coming in from further away", said Missoula City-County Health Department Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield.

Those with chronic underlying medical conditions are recommended to avoid strenuous exercise and time outdoors until the advisory is lifted. The station in Ellensburg reports "very unhealthy" levels of air pollution.

Air quality statements blanket parts of western Canada as smoke from the more than 500 wildfires burning in British Columbia coats the region in some of the worst air quality in the world.

"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.

Elsewhere in areas of Washington state, Idaho and OR, the air quality has been ranked as "very unhealthy", with Seattle reaching 249.

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Those who typically walk or jog to work are advised to consider taking a bus or Skytrain instead until the air quality improves.

Thick smoke in Denver blocked the view of some of Colorado's famous mountains and prompted an air quality health advisory for the northeastern quarter of the state.

Wildfire smoke blankets downtown Vancouver on Monday morning.

MPCA meteorologists say the smoke-related alerts are also unusual in that they're not being attributed to nearby fires - they're blazes in British Columbia. "That is not typical for wildfire season".

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.

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