Northwest Air Quality Continues to Deteriorate Amid Ongoing Wildfires

by Tia Bailey
Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The Northwest is currently having an air quality crisis. The issues stem from the ongoing wildfires that are sending smoke all across the area.

The air quality is rapidly deteriorating due to the heavy smoke coming from the fires. According to, the air quality in Vancouver is currently “unhealthy.” Just a few days ago, Metro Vancouver shared a press release about the worsening conditions.

“Smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change, and as wildfire behaviour changes,” the press release said.

Portland is currently in an air quality advisory. The National Weather Service in Portland shared that the advisory will remain in effect until Thursday at 6 p.m.

“A Smoke Air Quality Advisory remains in effect. Wildfires burning in the region combined with forecasted conditions will cause air quality to reach unhealthy levels at times through Thursday,” NWS Portland said on its website. “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.”Ad

The Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency shared more information involving the smoke on Twitter, writing: “More smoke does not necessarily mean more wildfire. Weather also plays a part. Strong winds are bad for firefighting efforts. While light/no winds are better to fight wildfire also means more smoke.”

Additionally, Clark, Cowlitz, and Lewis counties are under a Stage 2 burn ban. This orders residents to not use fireplaces, wood stoves, and inserts until further notice, according to Columbian.

“We are hopeful that calling this Stage 2 burn ban will moderate ambient levels of fine particulate matter until a more active weather system moves in,” Uri Papish, executive director for the agency, said in the press release. “We are not asking anyone to go without heat, but to use an alternative source of heat if possible until wildfire smoke and weather patterns change to return our air quality to healthy levels.”

Wildfires in Northwest Causing Air Quality Issues

Oregon has also been placed under an advisory about the air quality.

“Today, @OregonDEQ & @LaneRegionalAir issued an #AirQuality advisory for Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Douglas, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington & Yamhill Counties due to smoke from the #CedarCreekFire & fires in southwest WA. Photo: Siouxon Fire in SW WA. 1/3,” Oregon Smoke Info tweeted. “Washington’s Southwest Clean Air Agency also has an advisory active for the five counties in southwest Washington. *IMPORTANT*: There are more specifics in this advisory than usual. Be sure to visit to read all the details. 2/3.”

The advisory stated that the smoke levels can change rapidly when the weather changes, and can worsen medical conditions as well as irritate eyes and lungs. Residents in the affected areas are encouraged to stay indoors if able, and close all windows and doors.