Wildfires prompt public health warning

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 14, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:45 AM

The Washington State Department of Ecology issued an air quality warning Tuesday, warning that wildfires in Washington and Oregon are contributing to "very unhealthy" conditions.

Ecology said "air quality monitors across Central and Eastern Washington are showing that levels of fine particles from wildfire smoke are significantly higher than a healthy level. As of 11 a.m. [Tuesday], many monitors indicate air quality is unhealthy for sensitive people.  A monitor in Ellensburg reports air quality there is unhealthy for everyone."

The statement noted that the Washington State Department of Health "recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit the time that they spend outdoors when smoke is in the air" and that children "are more susceptible to smoke because:

  • Their respiratory systems are still developing.
  • They breathe more air (and air pollution) per pound of body weight than adults.
  • They’re more likely to be active outdoors.

"When smoke levels are high enough, even healthy people may be affected. To protect yourself, it’s important to limit your exposure to smoke — especially if you are susceptible."

Read the department's warning.

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