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Spokane’s clean air agency says people should start preparing for next year’s smoke season now

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Despite drought, wind and unusually warm temperatures, all factors for wildfire spread, Spokane County saw less unhealthy air quality than it has in previous years.

Since the beginning of this year air quality in Spokane County has fallen below the unhealthy for some group’s standard on eight separate days.

Lisa Woodard, the spokeswoman for the Spokane Clean Air Agency, said this year is an average of what the area has already seen, and will see in the coming years.

“So the concentrations of smoke were much lower than last year, but we had more days. We’d like to see skies during our beautiful summers here with no smoke impacts. Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to the case for the foreseeable future.”

The worst air quality summer on record for this region is 2017 when there were 16 poor air quality days, three of which were very unhealthy.

She said next summer could be similar to this year, and urged people to start preparations now, such as checking their air filtration system in their home, or talking to their doctor about how exposure could be impacting their health.

Furnace filters and fans, supplies for a DYI air filter, may also be in stock now.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.