smoke

People cross Main Street downtown Sunday night as the smoke in the Walla Walla Valley gets thicker.

SEATTLE — Poor air quality will be common across parts of the Pacific Northwest this week as winds push smoke from surrounding wildfires into the region, forecasters and regulators said.

Air quality alerts are in effect for much of Washington state through Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The air in Walla Walla County was visibly problematic today, and that was matched by its air quality rating of “hazardous.” Poor conditions are expected to last through Wednesday.

Measured at 5 a.m. at a monitoring site on 12th Avenue, air here registered at 331 on the Washington Air Quality Advisory, or WAQA, index, according to the state’s Department of Ecology.

The hazardous air category ranges from 310 to 500. Dayton’s air, measured there on Main Street, registered at 318 in the same time frame.

At 7:30 a.m., eight monitoring sites across the state registered good air quality, one as close as Kennewick.

Smoky, hazy conditions are making a return to the Puget Sound region because of wildfires in British Columbia and the Cascade Mountains, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. Smoke could worsen into unhealthy levels by Monday, the agency said.

An air quality alert is also in place across Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. Smoke from fires in British Columbia drifting into Washington and Idaho will cause unhealthy air levels through Tuesday, the weather service said.

On Sunday afternoon, several monitors in north-central Washington state showed air quality at hazardous levels.

Two women’s college soccer matches scheduled at Gonzaga University in Spokane and Eastern Washington University in Cheney were canceled Sunday because of the poor air quality, university officials said.

Environmental regulators also issued a pollution advisory for southwest Washington, Portland and much of the Willamette Valley. The air quality level is expected to reach into unhealthy for sensitive groups.

An air pollution advisory for southern Oregon remains in effect until further notice.

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