Air quality poor as wildfire smoke drifts back over Calgary

Air quality poor as wildfire smoke drifts back over Calgary

Health officials extended an air quality advisory Tuesday, a day after it was first issued over concerns about elevated levels of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5.

"Some smoke from fires, primarily in British Columbia, has moved down and affected the whole Puget Sound region", Wineke said.

The smoke choking the Tri-Cities could get worse.

The National Weather Service extended its air quality alert for most of Eastern Washington and north central OR by 48 hours on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday's air quality in Great Falls is rated "moderate" by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, meaning that unusually sensitive people should limit the length and intensity of outdoor activities.

On Tuesday, air in the Olympia area registered as unhealthy for sensitive groups, according to the Washington Smoke Information page.

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Thunderstorms could move into the Pacific Northwest on Friday morning, but they likely will be too far to the south of the Tri-Cities in OR to improve local air quality.

During a wildfire, air quality is volatile and subject to rapid change over short durations. Libby and West Yellowstone are now in the "red" zone, which means that active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.

Unhealthy: People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should avoid any outdoor activity; everyone else should avoid prolonged exertion. If you absolutely must drive, make sure to keep your car's recirculation button on.

With air now rated as unhealthy, even healthy people may have symptoms such as dry eyes, coughing and sinus irritation. Check the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's website for the most recent conditions. Seek medical help if you have symptoms that worsen or become severe.

Oregon's new air-quality web site has had almost a half-million visits since wildfire activity picked up July 15, creating smoky skies over much of the state.

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