PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. - For the third straight day, our area has been covered in unhealthy haze from wildfires, and some people say they are feeling the effects.
“I did notice a stuffy nose, and stuffy throat. I took some allergy medicine and that seemed to help. I don’t know, I get allergies in the summers sometimes, but the smoke makes it seem worse,” said Gannon Short, who works in Port Townsend.
It’s his job to water the flowers along the downtown. He says recently the smoke has been bothering him, but he’s still not wearing a mask.
Other people in Port Townsend were a little more cautious.
“They say it’s unhealthy, the smoke, right now,” said Nikki Skipper. “I’m pregnant so I just want to be careful."
Skipper wore a mask while walking downtown.
She says she got her mask for free at the hospital. Unfortunately, she wasn’t wearing the right mask.
Officials say N95 and N100 masks are the best options in trying to reduce the amount of unhealthy particulates you breathe in throughout the day.
Wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems, according to health officials:
- Trouble breathing
- Stinging eyes
- Irritated sinuses
- Asthma attack
- Chest pain
- Fast heartbeatWestern Washington authorities released another joint air quality alert Wednesday asking everyone to take precautions, especially children, older adults, and people who are pregnant, have heart or lung issue or have had a stroke:
- Stay indoors when possible.
- Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, and sports.
N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution. Medical masks or standard dust masks do not provide the necessary level of protection. N95 or N100 rated masks are usually available at hardware and home repair stores. Please check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you. More information here.
- Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use the “recirculation” switch. Use an indoor air filter if available.
- If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a public library or a community center.
- Avoid driving, when possible. If you must drive, keep the windows closed. If you use the car’s fan or air conditioning, make sure the system recirculates air from inside the car; don’t pull air from outside.
- Schools and daycare providers should consider postponing outdoor activities or moving them indoors.
- For more information on ways to reduce your exposure, see the Washington Department of Health’s Smoke From Fire tips.
- To learn more about wildfire smoke, and to subscribe to updates, visit the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s website.A stage 1 burn ban continues for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties:
- No outdoor burning during a Stage 1 air quality burn ban including:
- No charcoal barbeques or similar solid fuel devices
- No campfires or bonfires
- No fire pits, chimineas, fire bowls, or similar free-standing devices
- No fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves, or uncertified inserts*
- No agricultural fires (as described in the agricultural burn permit)
- Local fire districts do not grant Native American ceremonial fire permits outside of tribal lands during air quality burn bans.
- It is OK to use natural gas and propane grills, stoves, or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.