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October 14, 2022

Air Quality Alert in Effect for Skagit County; Red Flag Warning specific to North/Central Cascades; Modified Burn Ban Still in Effect

The National Weather Service has issued an Air Quality Alert for Skagit County, expected to be in effect through October 17, 2022, at 11:00 AM. A Red Flag Warning for the west slopes of the North and Central Cascades generally above 1500 feet has also been issued, in effect through October 16, 2022, at 5:00 PM.

Due to nearby wildfires, the air quality is expected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups and those at high-risk. Inhaling smoke is not good for anyone, but especially for those with increased risk for severe health impacts.

How to protect yourself if you are indoors:

  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible.
    • If you picked up an indoor clear air kit from Skagit County Public Health, now is the time to use it.
    • If you didn’t, consider making your own box fan filter.
    • Community Action at the East County Resource Center in Concrete will also have clean air kits available today (October 14th) from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM while supplies last.
  • Keep windows and doors closed.
  • Check current air quality Air quality conditions can change quickly.
  • Use a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your furnace and set your air conditioner on recirculate, if possible.
  • Don’t add more air pollution: avoid smoking, using a wood stove or fireplace, burning candles or incense, or vacuuming.
  • Reduce or limit physical activity inside.
  • If you can’t keep the indoor air clean, leave the area affected by wildfire smoke.
    • Local libraries and senior centers are also good places to go for clean air.

How to protect yourself if you are outdoors:

  • Check current air quality Air quality conditions can change quickly.
  • Wear an N95 or N100 mask. A paper or cloth mask won’t filter out fine particles in smoke.
  • Avoid physical activity.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid causing a spark. Properly discard cigarettes, keep vehicles off dry grass, obey burn bans, and avoid power equipment and activities that create sparks.
  • Keep car windows rolled up, with the air conditioner set to recirculate.
  • Leave the area affected by wildfire smoke, if you can.

How to protect pets and farm animals:

  • Reduce the time spent in smoky areas.
  • Give them plenty of water.
  • Limit activities that will increase their breathing.
  • Reduce their exposure to dust or other air pollutants.
  • If your animal is coughing or having difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian.

The Red Flag Warning in effect means that fire weather conditions are imminent or occurring now. Any fires that develop will likely spread quickly. The Skagit County Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding everyone that a Modified Burn Ban is still in effect.

The current weather forecast is calling for temperatures above normal again for this weekend. The amount of predicted rainfall will not lessen the fire danger to our region. For the burn ban to be lifted, the region would need several weeks of rain and cooler temperatures that we normally do not get until the end of October, or early November.

Under this ban, recreational fires are still allowed in unincorporated Skagit County unless we are under an Air Quality Ban. Check with State parks, National Forest Service, County Parks, and Private Camping Resorts for their rules before starting any recreational fire.

For more information on protecting yourself from the negative health effects of wildfire smoke, visit https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/wildfires/duringfire.html.

More information about open burning in Skagit County is available at skagitcounty.net/firemarshal or by calling the Skagit County Fire Marshal’s Office at (360) 416-1840.