(Kennewick, WA) -- Benton County is currently still experiencing elevated levels of smoke particulate due to wildfires in the region. The pollutant measured is PM2.5; particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is currently at Unhealthy. Changing weather conditions could improve air quality by midweek, but residents should prepare for continued levels of unhealthy air if changing weather patterns don’t move wildfire smoke out of the area.

Pollutants in smoke can cause burning eyes...runny nose...aggravate heart and lung diseases...and aggravate other serious health problems. Limit outdoor activities and keep children indoors if it is smoky. Please follow medical advice if you have a heart or lung condition.

Individuals should consider air quality conditions before conducting activities outdoors, especially to those who are sensitive to air pollution. Sensitive groups include older adults, children, people who work or exercise outdoors, and those with heart conditions and respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. Everyone else should reduce outdoor activities.

· Stay indoors when possible.

· Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, and sports.

· Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use the “recirculation” switch. Use an indoor air filter if available.

· If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a public library or a community center.

· N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution. These masks are usually available at hardware and home repair stores. Please check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you.


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