Breaking News
More () »

Seattle's air quality among the worst in the world due to wildfire smoke

Air quality around western Washington is severely diminished as wildfire smoke continues to permeate around the region.

SEATTLE — Seattle's air quality Thursday morning was among the worst of any place in the world, according to IQAir's Air Quality and pollution city rankings.

The air quality in the region was measured at 245 on the Air Quality Index (AQI) at 11 a.m. Thursday. Seattle was ranked at number one earlier in the day ahead of Portland, Ore., Bejing, China, Delhi, India, and Lahore, Pakistan.

An Air Quality Alert is in effect through Thursday evening for Seattle, as multiple fires continue to burn in the Cascades.

RELATED: Western Washington Forecast

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency urges people to stay inside, and released a map Wednesday showing the areas most affected by the smoky conditions.

Washington's Department of Ecology is showing unhealthy to very unhealthy air quality for much of King and Pierce Counties as of Wednesday evening.

Multiple fires, including the Chilliwack Area and Bolt Creek, are the cause of all the smoke. Crews are fighting the Bolt Creek Fire with a consumption strategy - essentially allowing the fire to burn, which reduces erosion and creates safer conditions for those crews. 

The Nakia Creek Fire in Clark County is affecting air quality in southeastern Washington.

Click here for the latest fire and burn ban information from the Department of Ecology.

What to know about diminished air quality: 

Wildfire smoke can cause health issues, especially for sensitive groups, including infants, children, people over 65, those who are pregnant, have heart or lung diseases, respiratory infections, diabetes, stroke survivors or those suffering from COVID-19, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

The agency recommends the following amid diminished air quality: 

  • Limit time outdoors and stock up on necessities like food, medication and other items.
  • Outfit your home's HVAC system with a high-efficiency HEPA filter to keep indoor air clean. 
  • Make a filter fan to help clean indoor air with a box fan, a furnace filter and a bungee cord or tape.
  • If you have an air conditioner, close the fresh air intake if available so you can keep smoky air out of your home.

Before You Leave, Check This Out