Layers of Smoke

A birds eye view of Lake Union from the Seattle Needle
Lake Union from the Space Needle observation deck in 2018 in Seattle. Haze from wildfires caused a decrease in air quality in the area. (Sarah Hoffman/Crosscut)

On the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 19, Seattle was ranked as the worst city worldwide for air quality and pollution, according to IQAir. Western Washington has been under an air-quality alert since Friday, which was extended until 5 p.m. Thursday. 

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued a wildfire smoke alert for the region on Tuesday, saying smoke will cause the air quality to reach unhealthy levels near active fires and reach the unhealthy-for-sensitive-groups level or worse in other areas.

If the smoke is making you concerned about yourself and your surroundings, you're not alone. Revisit these Crosscut articles to learn how wildfire smoke intersects with climate change, public health and the environment.