UPDATE: Monday, 11:45 am
Spokane County's air quality has improved slightly. The county's clean air agency measures 418 parts per million on a 1-500 scale of particulates, still hazardous, but better than the 36-48 hours. Nearly all of the smoke monitoring stations are registering very unhealthy or hazardous levels.
While it looked like we might see some improvement by today, the current forecasts call for haze to stick around until Friday. Then, we can expect cloudy skies a chance of rain through the weekend.
According to the Washington Smoke Information blog, the air has improved enough in the Palouse and Lewis-Clark Valley to reach the unhealthy category.
Lisa Woodard from the Spokane Clean Air Agency says the high particulate number is unprecedented for Spokane for at least the recent past.
The National Weather Service has issued a dense smoke advisory for the Columbia Basin, the Palouse, northeastern Washington and the Idaho panhandle through Monday morning. Forecasters say a weak weather system may push some of the air out of the region on Monday.
Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz says the best remedy is to stay inside, especially those with sensitive lungs.
“With air quality as bad as it is, as it will be potentially, it puts everyone at risk. Certainly those at-risk populations, those with other medical problems, older individuals, younger individuals, young kids, they definitely will not want to be going out if the air gets as bad as they’re predicting over the weekend," he said.
Lutz urges people with air conditioning at home to change the setting to recirculate, so as not to bring in smoky air from the outside.
Air quality and lands agencies around the region have issued a variety of alerts and burn bans to warn people about the dangers of pollution and fire possibilities.
Places you can go to get air quality information: