As we enter the autumn burning season – when both outdoor burning and indoor home-heating with wood is on the rise – it’s important for people to stay abreast of their local air quality conditions. Fortunately, the Washington Department of Ecology (ECY) offers state residents a tool to help them become more air aware.
The AirQualityWA app, available on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, provides real-time data about air quality conditions throughout the state. The app draws on the data streaming from all the monitoring stations in Washington, including those operated by ORCAA within its six-county jurisdiction.
The app home screen features the “dot map” of color-coded current conditions for each monitoring station. Each “dot” carries a number that represents the Air Quality Index, or AQI. The color-coded categories of the AQI show when air quality is good, moderate, or unhealthy. The simple color-coding makes understanding the current Air Quality easier to understand and use to make healthy activity choices.
While Ecology’s full air quality monitoring map can also, of course, be viewed from a mobile phone, the app loads more quickly and its display and navigation are optimized for smaller screens.
In addition to the current air quality conditions, the app also has other features the public will find helpful:
- People can choose favorites, for instant access to their local monitor or one near a family member.
- There are a variety of reports available, such as 24-hour summaries, the highest pollution values, and rolling averages.
- Users can toggle between specific types of air pollution — fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, is the most common, and the primary concern from wildfire smoke, but Ecology also monitors for PM10 (slightly larger particulates), ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide.
Download the app
Apple iOS: Air Quality WA – iOS
Google Android: Air Quality WA – Android