Smoky air makes for a brilliant sun over Oak Harbor this week. Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times

Smoke staying in our skies — and eyes — through the weekend

B.C. wildfires blanket Washington with’ worst’ air quality in the nation

Smoke will stay in our skies — and eyes — through the weekend.

Officials say winds coming from the north pushing smoke from about 150 wildfires in Canada will continue blanketing Whidbey Island, the Puget Sound region and beyond with a thick gray haze.

Early next week may bring relief.

Until then, the elderly, very young and those with respiratory problems are advised to stay indoors as the air quality is listed as “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

Thursday, air quality in Washington was declared “among the worst in the country,” by the Washington Department of Ecology.

This week’s combination of bad air and high heat could take a toll on seniors, said Robert May, paramedic with WhidbeyHealth EMS.

“This is the time to check on your elderly neighbor,” he said. “Knock on their door, ask them if they need anything. Even if you’ve never met them, now is the time to reach out to them.”

May said he hadn’t heard that ambulance calls or ER visits had increased with patients suffering from respiratory or heat-related illnesses.

Island County is under a Type II burn ban, which forbids all recreational fires and all outdoor burning of natural debris even with a permit.

Use of barbecue grills using propane or briquettes, or self-contained camp stoves, are still allowed.

The hazy skies not only led to spectacular sunrises and sunsets, it also created a sunshine shield, helping tamp down the temperature slightly.

According to the National Weather Service, the low-level offshore flow that’s been pushing smoke into the region and interfering with the usual cool Pacific breezes is expected to begin to reverse.

So temperatures, and horizons, should return to Northwestern normal.

More in News

Contractor chosen for new behavioral health crisis center

Whidbey Island is a step closer to having its first facility for… Continue reading

Wharf gets rural development grant, Oak Harbor requests still in question

County commissioners have decided to give restorations at the Coupeville Wharf a… Continue reading

Paved Kettles Trail to close for resurfacing

Island County Public Works will begin resurfacing activities on Kettles Trail as… Continue reading

Two transported to hospital after motorcycle accident

Two people were transported to the hospital Wednesday after hitting a deer… Continue reading

Sunny acres: Farm abloom with late summer bounty

By Wendy Leigh wleigh@whidbeynewsgroup.com When Stephen Williams first stepped foot on Whidbey… Continue reading

WEAN left its mark in three decades of advocacy, litigation

For 30 years, one group on Whidbey Island has served as a… Continue reading

Man accused of domestic violence

A man with a history of domestic violence is accused of bashing… Continue reading

WhidbeyHealth aims to recruit more providers

The number of unfilled positions at WhidbeyHealth is affecting patients’ access to… Continue reading

SAR conducts rescue July 28

A search-and-rescue team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island rescued an injured… Continue reading

Most Read