There is little we can do to prevent wildfire smoke, especially when it comes from fires hundreds or even thousands of miles away. But we can stay informed. ORCAA maintains a region-wide air quality monitoring network to help track current air quality, and that data is made available to the public through our website.
ORCAA also works cooperatively with the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the regional United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on air-related data. ORCAA is a member of the Washington Air Monitoring Work Group, which includes representatives of Ecology and the Washington State Local Air Pollution Control Agencies.
Why air quality data matters
Some people, including people with heart or lung disease, pregnant women, people over 65, babies and children are at higher risk of problems from breathing smoke. It’s especially important for these people and those who care for them to pay attention to air quality and take steps to reduce their exposure to smoke. The Washington Smoke Blog provides the latest information on current air quality conditions and smoke forecasts so you know what to expect.
For more information on what you can do to stay healthy this wildfire season, visit the Washington State Department of Health Smoke From Fires website.
Preventing local wildfires
The one action we can take to reduce wildfire smoke is to prevent them from occurring around us. To help with this, ORCAA honors and supports any and all fire-safety burn bans called by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and local fire agencies. Fire safety burn bans are issued by DNR or county fire marshals when dry weather conditions heighten the risk of wildfires. But ORCAA is NOT responsible for issuing or enforcing fire safety burn bans. For more on local fire safety bans, contact your county fire officials. The DNR may also issue burn bans on state-protected lands. For information check the Burn Portal – WA DNR, or the Department of Ecology’s Burn Ban page.
Check ORCAA’s News Page to see the latest updates on Burn Bans.