Air quality reaches hazardous levels in Spokane

Screen shot 2018 08 20

Smoky skies, bad air from wildfires cover Northwest

Unfortunately, with an offshore flow expected, smoke concentrations will increase along coastal regions, including the Lower Mainland.

The National Weather Service is warning of dense smoke from wildfires across the region being pushed into the Yakima and Kittitas valleys by northerly winds. The air quality level is expected to reach into unhealthy for sensitive groups.

"The millions of vehicles on Bay Area roads during these hot summer months create unhealthy air quality and make breathing more hard for many", said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district.

On Sunday afternoon, several monitors in north-central Washington state showed air quality at hazardous levels.

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The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert that will remain effective until Tuesday morning for areas throughout the state.

Health officials are advising people to reduce or completely avoid strenuous outdoor activities.

It's time to break out your particulate respirator mask.

In the United States, smoke from wildfires also clogged the sky across the west, blotting out mountains and city skylines from OR to Colorado, delaying flights and forcing authorities to tell even healthy adults in the Seattle area to stay indoors.

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Hundreds of residents are either under evacuation orders or are being warned that they should be ready to leave their homes at a moment's notice.

The Shovel Lake fire is considered to be one of the highest priorities for firefighters. The fire was discovered July 27 and has since grown to almost 85,000 hectares, or slightly larger than the City of Calgary.

Six new wildfires were discovered in the province on Sunday, bringing the total number burning to 433 by the end of the day.

Overall, hundreds of thousands of hectares of land across B.C. have been scorched by this year's 1,891 known wildfires - more than the province has seen in any full year since 2009.

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