Smoky skies persist

But sports season resumes in Whitman County


September 15, 2022

John Myers | Free Press Publishing, Inc.

Smoke from Inland Northwest wildfires tinted the sunrise over a holding pond off the Fish Lake Trail, northeast of Cheney on Monday, Sept 12.

COLFAX – Smoke from Pacific Northwest wildfires continued to linger Tuesday evening, prompting area health officials to issue an air quality alert.

The alert was expected to remain in place through 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 14, in Adams, Spokane, Lincoln and Whitman counties, among other places.

"When air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups,sensitive persons may experience health effects and should limit prolonged or heavy exertion and limit time spent outdoors," the alert said. "When air quality is unhealthy, everyone should reduce exposure, limit time outside, avoid strenuous activity and follow tips for cleaner indoor air.

"When air quality is very unhealthy, everyone should reduce exposure, stay inside and filter indoor air to keep it cleaner or go elsewhere for cleaner air as needed."

On Monday, the region logged "very unhealthy" air quality levels, according to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency.

As a result, multiples schools around the region canceled outdoor activities or attempted to move them indoors.

Conditions lessoned Tuesday, allowing schools to resume outdoor activities and sports, but the smoke continued to linger.

The National Weather Service was predicting the possibility of rain this week that could wash some of the smoke particulates out of the area.

The Whitman County Health Department is encouraging residents and visitors to monitor air quality levels and refrain from outdoor activities while unhealthy conditions linger.

Rules created by the state Department of Labor and Industry also require employers to take steps to protect workers from unhealthy air conditions.

Officials recommend the following:

• Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors.

• Avoid vigorous outdoor activities.

• Wear a properly fitted N95 mask, not fabric or surgical masks.

• Find indoor activities to keep busy, such as visiting a local library, mall or movie theater.

• Keep windows and doors closed.

• Check on family and friends who may be susceptible to health issues due to the unhealthy air conditions.


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