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

Homelessness to be discussed at forum Monday

The Whidbey Homeless Coalition is inviting the public to join its “community… Continue reading

Oak Harbor High School art students seek votes in national competition

Oak Harbor High School art students are using their skills and creativity… Continue reading

Commissioner rejects prosecutor’s request

Last week, Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson said she would vote against… Continue reading

Highway 20 clear after 2-vehicle traffic accident

Highway 20 has been cleared after a two-vehicle motor vehicle accident occurred… Continue reading

Ebey’s Forever funds $66K in grants

Nearly a dozen historic properties in Central Whidbey will receive a total… Continue reading

Hundreds of newspapers burn in car fire, delivery delayed

A car fire delayed the delivery of hundreds of copies of the… Continue reading

Man tracks down stolen bicycles

A little detective work by a Clinton resident led to the return… Continue reading

Oak Harbor hosts Kindergarten Orientation

Oak Harbor Public Schools is hosting its annual Kindergarten Orientation at 6… Continue reading

WhidbeyHealth EMS seeks levy extension

Tax supports 60 percent of operating budget

Most Read