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Wildfire smoke expected to linger in Puget Sound region through the week

The Air Quality Alert was extended for the Puget Sound region Monday morning. Showers are expected to bring relief later this week.
Credit: KING 5
A photo of the Seattle waterfront at 8 a.m. on Monday, September 14, 2020.

The smoke-covered Puget Sound region could finally start getting some relief on Monday, but not as much as initially expected.

A weather system that was expected to move into western Washington Monday and help clear out some of the wildfire smoke weakened offshore. While there is a chance of scattered showers moving into the area, there will likely be minimal improvements to the air quality.

An air quality alert for smoke was extended for the Puget Sound region and much of Washington state around 11 a.m. Monday. The alert is in effect until noon Thursday.

"Region wide smoke will continue through the rest of the week as an extensive area of smoke from western U.S. wildfires continues to impact the region," the National Weather Service wrote in its alert. 

Air quality will vary this week. It is expected to remain unhealthy to very unhealthy Monday, before improving slightly Tuesday.

The Washington Department of Ecology said on its smoke blog that the “cleanest” air in the state Monday morning was “unhealthy” on the Air Quality Index. The NWS said air quality readings around most of the Puget Sound area were "very unhealthy" and "hazardous" due to smoke.

The NWS said at 9 a.m. that, as far as air quality goes, "it doesn't appear there will be much improvement today."

The Department of Ecology said southerly winds will continue for at least another day, “dragging more smoke directly from Oregon fires northward along the I-5 corridor.”

A stronger weather system arriving later this week should help clear out some of the smoke in western Washington, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency said.

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People who are especially vulnerable to serious cases of COVID-19 are also vulnerable to air pollution.

People should keep their doors and windows shut, limit their time outside and avoid exercising outside.

People are also being asked to be careful about not starting another fire by tossing a cigarette out a window or lighting a campfire.

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