Air Quality Advisory for September 6, 2018
Colville, Wellpinit, and Republic is at Moderate. People with health conditions should limit time spent outdoors and avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
Inchelium and Newport are not currently reporting.
People in impacted areas should consider the following:
- Keep outside doors and windows closed if it is not too hot
- Run air conditioners on re-circulation mode and close outside air intakes
- While driving vehicles, use the AC but set it to re-circulate.
- Use indoor air cleaners with HEPA filters if you have them.
- In hot weather conditions, keep hydrated and avoid heat exhaustion.
- If you live in a heavily impacted area, consider going to an area with better air quality until conditions improve. In some areas, shelters are set up and available.
- If you have symptoms of lung or heart disease that have been worsened by smoke exposure, contact your health care provider as soon as you can.
- Individuals who must spend time outdoors in heavily impacted areas from wildfire smoke may consider wearing an N-95 respirator mask. These masks will filter out fine particles but they don’t work for everyone. Masks do not work on people with beards because they do not seal well enough to provide protection. Masks are also not appropriate for infants or small children. People with chronic disease should check with their health care provider before wearing a mask as it more difficult to breathe.
It should be stressed that wildfire smoke is not a major health threat for most people under most conditions. However, for sensitive groups, it can be a serious issue. Resources for real-time monitoring, additional health and air quality recommendations can be found using the links below:
- Understanding the air quality conditions is fairly straightforward with this helpful guide https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/documents/1802024.pdf
- You can check statewide air quality conditions at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/ . Local monitoring stations currently exist in Inchelium and Colville. There are neighboring monitor stations in Post Falls and Spokane.
- Use the Air Pollution and School Activities Guide PDF to determine if air quality conditions warrant activity restrictions.
- If wildfire smoke impairments exist in your area, use the Improving Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality During Wildfire Smoke Events handout that provides recommendations for schools with mechanical ventilation.
- Additional information about local fires, smoke, and air quality forecasting can be found at Washington Smoke Information.
Wildfire Smoke and Face Mask Use
For areas with air quality impairments from wildfire smoke, there are ways to reduce exposure or limit physical activities. These actions are the best way to limit health impacts from wildfire smoke. However, individuals who must spend time outdoors in heavily impacted areas from wildfire smoke may consider wearing an N-95 respirator mask. These masks will filter out fine particles but they don’t work for everyone. Masks do not work on people with beards because they do not seal well enough to provide protection. Masks are also not appropriate for infants or small children. People with chronic disease should check with their health care provider before wearing a mask as it more difficult to breathe.
A limited supply of masks have been distributed to the following locations:
- Northeast Tri County Health District Republic office at 147 N Clark Street, Suite 1
- Republic Market
- Andersons Grocery Store (Republic)
- Pine Grove Junction
- Republic Chevron
- Knotty Pine Restaurant (Republic)
- Freckles Gourmet BBQ (Republic)
- Tugboats (Curlew)
Pend Oreille County
- Northeast Tri County Health District Newport office at 605 Hwy 20
- Newport Library
- Calispel Valley Branch Library (available August 22nd)
- Ione Branch Library (available August 22nd)
- Metaline Falls Branch Library (available August 22nd )
- Northeast Tri County Health District Colville office at 240 East Dominion Ave
- Kettle Falls Visitor Center
- Kettle Falls Public Library
- Colville Public Library
- Hunters Public Library
- Loon Lake Public Library
- Northport Community Library
- Lakeside (Suncrest) Community Library
Additionally, many hardware stores, home improvement stores, and pharmacies may have supplies of N-95 face masks.
More information about proper mask use can be found at http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/334-353.pdf.