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Air quality reaches hazardous levels in Spokane

21 August 2018

While Metro Vancouver's air quality saw a brief reprieve on Friday, August 17th, the smoky haze returned the day after.

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

The smoke from wildfires across northern parts of Washington state and southern British Columbia has lowered visibility to between one and three miles in some areas and is leading to dangerously unhealthy air quality across the region.

Until then, air quality levels can be expected to oscillate between unhealthy and moderate. Check the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's website for the most recent conditions.

The Clean Air Agency is urging everyone to stay indoors as much as possible and keep windows closed. On Sunday, incoming flights were delayed for more than two hours. "If it's not fitted correctly, all it does is make it harder to breathe", she said.

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As B.C. residents look for ways to cope with the poor air quality, firefighting crews are reporting progress as they continue to battle hundreds of wildfires.

The BC Wildfire Service says about 550 fires are burning in the province, but there weren't many lightning strikes over the weekend and that gave crews a chance to concentrate on some of the 54 blazes now threatening people or property.

A province-wide state of emergency has been in effect since August 15.

Another notable fire, the 633-hectare Gottfriedsen Mountain fire, was brought under control on Sunday. Smoke from fires in British Columbia drifting into Washington and Idaho will cause unhealthy air levels through Tuesday, the weather service said. This can become risky at times with easterly winds throughout B.C.

Air quality reaches hazardous levels in Spokane