Tuesday, September 01, 2015 - The danger from wildfires runs deeper than the threats to property and structures around the fire itself. Smoke from the uncontrolled burns spreads over great distances, potentially impacting the air quality and health of residents hundreds of miles away. Currently, smoke from wildfires throughout Washington has drifted over much of the state in varying intensity.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) notes that wildfire smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles which can irritate eyes and respiratory systems, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. The quantity and duration of smoke exposure, as well as a person's age and degree of susceptibility, play a role in determining whether or not someone will experience smoke-related health problems. Particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, increasing the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory problems. When smoke levels are high, anyone exposed may experience symptoms.
Additional information on the health risks associated with wildfire smoke can be found by using the following links: