Smoky skies

Smoke obscures the view of Mount Adams and Mount Rainier at the Selah Creek rest stop along Interstate 82 on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 1, 2021.

Air quality was rated unhealthy for everyone in the Yakima Valley on Sunday afternoon as smoke from wildfires in the region pushed into the area.

Multiple wildfires are burning in Washington, including the Cedar Creek Fire in the Mazama-Winthrop area, the Green Ridge Fire in the Umatilla National Forest and fires on the Colville Reservation. There is also lingering smoke from fires in Oregon, Idaho and California.

Air was rated unhealthy in Yakima, Sunnyside, the Yakama Nation Reservation and Toppenish as of 5 p.m., and very unhealthy in Ellensburg.

A high-pressure cap is expected to keep the smoke in place Monday, with hazy skies in the forecast. The high is forecast to be at least 100 degrees Monday through Wednesday in Yakima.

Skies are forecast to clear Monday night, according to the National Weather Service. There’s a 20% chance of rain Wednesday night and a 30% chance of rain Thursday.

People are advised to stay inside when air quality is bad, and set air conditioning to recirculate. If it looks smoky outside, it’s best to avoid outdoor activities.

An N95 mask that is properly fitted and worn correctly offers some protection against outdoor wildfire smoke. A cloth or surgical mask will not protect you from the fine particles in wildfire smoke.

Inhaling wildfire smoke is unhealthy for all people but can significantly impact people with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as infants, children, pregnant women and older adults, health officials said.


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