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Wednesday, October 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Wildfire smoke fills Spokane Valley, making air unhealthy for some people

The Freeman High School football team practices amid a haze of smoke from the Yale Road fire on Monday, Aug 22, 2016, in Rockford, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
The Freeman High School football team practices amid a haze of smoke from the Yale Road fire on Monday, Aug 22, 2016, in Rockford, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Smoke from regional wildfires settled over Spokane Valley on Monday morning, sending air quality readings into the category of unhealthy for people with breathing issues.

The air quality index at the Broadway Elementary School monitoring site stood at 137 on Monday morning; a range of 100 to 150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive people.

By 4:15 p.m., the monitoring station in Spokane Valley reported air in the good range while stations in Spokane, Airway Heights and Colbert had moderately polluted air.

Parks staff in Spokane Valley was keeping an eye on air quality and said it would close city pools and cancel an outdoor movie if conditions worsened to unhealthy for all individuals.

Air quality was also reportedly poor in parts of North Idaho on Monday. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality issued an advisory for deteriorating air quality in the northern counties through Tuesday.

A curtain of smoke from the Hart Road fire near Davenport was clearly visible to the north and northwest of Spokane. An expected wind shift would send the smoke into Spokane, weather forecasters said.

For Tuesday, forecasters were calling for lingering smoke in the morning, but clearing conditions by afternoon with a high in the upper 70s.

Lisa Woodard, spokeswoman for the Spokane Clean Air Agency, said the region’s wildfires were clearly the cause of Monday’s poor to moderate air quality.

Also, a large new fire near Kahlotus, Washington, was sending a smoke plume into the atmosphere southwest of Spokane. Smoke from that fire was expected to go toward Pullman, Moscow and Lewiston.

Lower temperatures and lighter winds are expected through the week. Highs should range from the 70s to middle 80s as the week progresses with lighter winds.

The Spokane clean air agency reports air quality numbers under a formula that averages the amount of pollution over a number of hours. One hourly reading in Spokane Valley on Monday morning showed the smoke pollution at 161, which is considered unhealthy for all groups.

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