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Spokane starts Tuesday morning with unhealthy air

UPDATED: Tue., Aug. 14, 2018, 10:03 p.m.

Smoke hangs in the air as a commercial vehicle heads east along 37th Avenue at Glenrose Road, Monday, August 13, 2018, in Spokane. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Smoke hangs in the air as a commercial vehicle heads east along 37th Avenue at Glenrose Road, Monday, August 13, 2018, in Spokane. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane woke up to unhealthy air for the second straight day on Tuesday and predictions show the same for Wednesday.

Three of Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency’s four air monitors measuring particulate matter 2.5 microns or less measured unhealthy readings at 6:15 a.m.

The worst Spokane County reading on the 1-500 air quality scale was 168. Measurements above 150 are considered unhealthy for all people.

The measurements were slightly better than Monday morning but still poor enough that health officials advise people to stay indoors as much as possible. According to data posted on the agency’s website, Monday and Tuesday have had the unhealthiest air quality this summer.

Public Information Officer for the Spokane Regional Clean Agency Lisa Woodard said smoky conditions have increased the last several years, but this year hasn’t yet risen to the levels recorded in 2015 or 2017. According to data posted on the agency’s website, in 2015 there were 13 days above healthy standards, in 2017 there were 16. This year there have been four.

Woodard said it was still early in the wildfire season to compare this year’s numbers to past seasons. The poorest air quality in more than a decade occurred Sept. 5, 6 and 7 of last year, with air quality reaching above 240 on a 500 quality scale, which is considered unhealthy for all groups.

“Last year at this time we had more bad days than what we’re seeing now,” she said, “but I caution that because there’s more of the season left.”

Reporters Rebecca White and Jonathan Glover contributed to this report


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