About those smoky skies ...

Hazy Seattle Skyline

Seattle's hazy skyline on Aug. 2, 2017.

This story originally appeared on KUOW.


Winds from the north and northeast have carried wildfire smoke from British Columbia over Washington and Oregon.

“We didn’t expect it to go that far so quickly,”  says Ranil Dhammapala, with the Washington State Department of Ecology. “It’s pretty much blanketed the whole state.”

And forecasts predict smoke will keep coming and continue to blanket Washington and Oregon throughout the weekend. In Eastern Washington, the winds will shift and bring smoke from Montana. And, in Western Washington and Oregon, the winds will bring back smoke that’s drifted over the Pacific.

“Those with heart or lung disease, asthma, diabetes, and for people in similar categories, they should mostly try to limit the amount of time they spend outdoors,” Dhammapala advises.

Agencies have issued burn bans and air pollution advisories for much of Washington and Oregon.

The most recent air quality readings are available on the Washington State Department of Ecology website and the Oregon smoke blog maintained by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

As for getting away for the smoke, Dhammapala says the only way to do that would be to climb above 5,000 feet of elevation — and then you would have to be careful about the hot, dry, windy conditions conducive to wildfires.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Eilís O'Neill

Eilís O'Neill

Eilís O'Neill is the EarthFix reporter at KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio in Seattle. Eilís (eye-LEASH) fell in love with radio as a 14-year-old high school intern at KUOW. Since then, she’s wandered the world recording people’s stories and telling them on the air. She’s worked at KALW in San Francisco and WAMU in D.C.; she’s freelanced for public radio programs such as The World and Marketplace from places such as Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile; and she’s written for The Nation and other magazines. Eilís has a degree in English and Spanish from Oberlin College and a master’s degree in science, environment and health journalism from Columbia University.