Air quality alerts were issued by the US National Weather Service (NWS) on Monday, August 20, for most of the northwestern US. Alert durations vary by locality, but most will remain in effect until Wednesday evening (local time), August 22, or Thursday morning, August 23. Affected areas include:
- All of Washington state
- All of Oregon state, excluding the southern coast from Reedsport to Brookings
- Idaho: panhandle from Idaho county to the Canadian border; western Snake River valley from Mountain Home to Oregon
- Western Montana, including Lewis & Clark, Jefferson, Broadwater, Gallatin, and Meagher counties
Persistent wildfires in the western US have released smoke and particulates, reducing air quality as far as the Midwest. Weather conditions in the northwest have resulted in an inversion layer, trapping smoke near ground level. Air quality alerts indicate unhealthy levels of pollutants or particulate matter in the air that can cause health problems, from runny noses and watery eyes to bronchitis, and aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases.
Individuals in the affected areas, particularly children and those with respiratory illnesses, are advised to limit prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities and monitor respiratory symptoms, including watery eyes, chest pain, coughing, headache, and irregular heartbeats.
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