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Environmental Services

Posted on: June 26, 2019

Prepare for Wildfire Smoke Season at #SpokaneSmokeReady

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(The following is an excerpt from a Spokesman-Review story by Megan Rowe on 6/26/19. For the complete story, go to: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/jun/26/spokane-area-agencies-seek-to-educate-people-throu/ 

Wednesday, June 26th is Smoke Ready Communities Day – a collaboration of the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, Spokane Regional Health District and Greater Spokane Emergency Management. The purpose is to provide the community with information and resources to prepare for wildfire season, especially those people who are vulnerable.

“We know after the last couple of summers that we have experienced significant smoke impacts, and so we know that we can expect that,” said Lisa Woodard, Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency communications and outreach manager. “While we can’t predict exactly when the smoke will hit us and how bad it will be, we certainly can be prepared, as individuals, as business owners and as a community.”

Woodard said there are many resources on the clean air agency’s website, which will be updated frequently as the season progresses. The website also displays the current air quality index, which is updated on an hourly basis.

Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane County health officer, said vulnerable populations include the elderly, babies, young children and those with cardiac or pulmonary issues. Lutz said it’s important to note the danger of poor air quality isn’t simply the particulate matter, but also its mix of volatile gases and other substances.

Lutz said people who don’t fall into a vulnerable category still need to make a plan to adapt this fire season. Lutz said he also considers those who have prolonged exposure to poor air quality as a vulnerable population, which would include the homeless.

For more information, go to #SpokaneSmokeReady or www.spokanecleanair.org.  

Photo Credit: The spires of Saint Aloysius Catholic Church are clouded in smoke from regional fires generating unhealthy air in much of northeastern Washington and North Idaho, Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review).

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