Wildfires: Air quality ‘unhealthy’ over Cle Elum

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Cle Elum, Wash. —  The Washington State Department of Ecology says the air quality over Cle Elum is “unhealthy,” just one step below hazardous.

Two fires are to blame — the South Cle Elum Ridge Fire and the Snag Canyon Fire burning near Ellensburg.  “It just tightens your lungs up … you work harder at it, kinda makes you tired,” Cle Elum resident Julie Riggle said.

For weeks, a thick, heavy layer of smoke has been hovering over the town.  Many residents say the smoke is comparable to what they saw with the Taylor Bridge Fire two years ago.

"It just hits you all of the sudden like. I would go outside, you can smell it getting really bad ... you don't even really see down the street sometimes because its just really foggy and hazy," Tanner Santjer said.

The area did see some relief as overnight rain pushed some of the smoke out of the area.  However, the winds are expected to die down so more smoke is expected to hover over the area.

The South Cle Elum Ridge Fire has burned roughly 760 acres.  It is expected to grow.  Around 415 firefighters are battling the blaze.


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