Air quality in Seattle area is worse today due to wildfires

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Updated 1:40 pm PDT, Monday, August 5, 2019

If you thought the air was a little hazy Monday in Seattle, you wouldn’t be wrong.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency‘s air quality index ranked the air Monday in the Puget Sound region as “moderate” due to several wildfires in Eastern Washington. This means that healthy adults are recommended to reduce prolonged or heavy exertion, and sensitive groups should also reduce light outdoor activity such as walking.

RELATED: Bipartisan bill will boost wildfire protection, senators say

Moderate air quality was forecast to last until Wednesday, when winds are expected to shift and bring in cleaner air. The forecast wasn’t just for King County — it also covers Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties and the Cascades.

Five wildfires — including Kusshi Creek, Left Hand, and Devore Creek — were burning in Eastern Washington on Monday morning, as well as three in Oregon. Smoke from those fires was being carried west to Puget Sound.

RELATED: Wildfire concerns mount with hot, dry weather outlook in Washington

This comes on the coattails of an Associated Press story Sunday raising the alarm that even historically too-wet-to-burn Pacific Northwest towns, including Seattle suburb Issaquah, are “woefully unprepared” for fire risk as climate change brings warmer, drier weather to the region.

As of late June, Washington forests had seen more than double the average number of fire starts from the previous decade, growing from an average of 74 to 194 starts.

Madeline Wells is an editorial assistant. Email: madeline.wells@sfgate.com | Twitter: @madwells22