TACOMA, Wash.—Air quality in Pierce County should improve during the next few days, according to the State Department of Ecology. But wildfires continue to burn in our state and British Columbia, meaning conditions can change quickly.
“Relief from the smoky haze is good news for everyone, especially people with heart and lung diseases,” said Judy Olsen, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Environmental Health Specialist. “Since wildfires continue to burn, everyone should stay informed about potential changes in air quality,” Olsen said.
People most at risk
Unhealthy air quality can affect everyone. People in sensitive groups are most at risk of potential health effects. They are:
- People with heart and lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD.
- Adults over 65.
- Children and infants.
- Pregnant women.
For people with asthma, the National Institute of Health has guidelines regardless of the air quality. They include:
- Have an asthma or COPD action plan that explains how to adjust medications and activities as needed.
- Follow instructions on how to clean and maintain inhalers and respiratory equipment.
- Ensure children have unexpired rescue inhalers available at school, daycare, and during activities.
- Know your allergies or triggers and how to avoid them.
With proper care, people who have asthma can stay active, sleep through the night and avoid disruptions to their lives because of asthma attacks. For more information, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-pro/resources/lung/naci/asthma-info/asthma-guidelines.htm.
Air quality burn ban lifted
Because of the improving air quality, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency lifted the air quality burn ban for Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Snohomish counties. This means you can use things such as charcoal barbecues, campfires, and bonfires. The Pierce County fire marshal’s fire safety burn ban remains in effect for residents of unincorporated parts of the county. This ban prohibits land clearing and yard debris outdoor burning.
Find other valuable information on air quality and learn what to do to protect your family at:
- State Department of Health—www.doh.wa.gov/smokefromfires: Provides information on how to protect against wildfire smoke.
- State Department of Ecology, Washington Air Quality Advisory—fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/App_AQI/AQI.en-US.pdf: Describes different air pollution categories and what they mean to you.
- National Weather Service—www.weather.gov/: Weather related alerts, including air quality.