Yakima County - When a fire is burning everything in it's path, there's always going to be smoke. The Burbank Fire burned about 12,000 acres near Selah and as a result caused some poor air quality in Yakima County. Fortunately, the air quality is back in the healthy range.
Yakima County has four air quality monitors located in Toppenish, Sunnyside, White Swan and Yakima. Yesterday, the Yakima monitor was marking air quality levels as high as 108 PM2.5s or particular matter. That number is in the unsafe safe for sensitive groups range. In order to have good air quality we must have between 0 and 50 PM2.5s.
Today the highest the Yakima monitor read was 50PM2.5s, but by 6p.m. that number dropped down to 11 PM2.5s. This means the air quality is continuing to improve throughout the day and that Yakima is back in the good air quality range.
Nathan Johnson with the Yakima Health District said that some areas closer to where the fire is may have worse air quality, but without a monitor in Selah, there's no way of knowing.
"Our closest one is in Yakima and again it's reading 49 so that is not to say there are not certain areas where it does cross that boundary into that moderate phase," Johnson said.
For people who live in areas that may still have smoke, there are precautions they can take.
Johnson said it's best to limit outdoor activities and to stay inside with the windows and door closed. He also recommends putting your air conditioner on recycle mode so that it reuses the same air from inside your home rather than pulling air in from outside.
The people who would be affected by moderate air are people with health conditions such as asthma or diabetes or pregnant woman.
As fire season continues, you can check the air quality in your area on the Department of Ecology's website.