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County air quality “unhealthy,” limited activity outdoors recommended

Air quality forecast from the Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow.
Air quality forecast from the Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow.

Air quality in Whatcom County remains moderate, with Bellingham, Lynden and Ferndale classified as unhealthy for sensitive groups, according to Washington’s Air Monitoring Network.

Wildfire smoke from British Columbia fires is impacting air quality in Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties. BC Wildfire Service spokesman Kevin Skrepnek warned that winds from the interior could bring in more wildfire smoke over Canada’s Lower Mainland Friday, according to the Abbortsford News.

According to data on the Department of Ecology Washington State Air Monitoring site, at 4 p.m. Thursday, the monitoring site on Yew Street in Bellingham registered air quality in the “unhealthy” range with a Washington Air Quality Advisory value of 160. This is up from the rating of 22 on Tuesday. The Maple Falls rating also was “unhealthy.” Both Ferndale sites (on Mountain View and Kickerville roads) still register as a 1, in the Good range.

Ecology’s unhealthy pollution category means more people may encounter breathing problems and those with existing lung or heart disease may have worsened symptoms. It recommends all people in areas with an unhealthy rating limit time spent outdoors, particularly exercising. Those with asthma, respiratory infection, lung or heart disease, diabetes or a history of stokes, as well as young children, pregnant women and older adults are advised to stay indoors.

The Whatcom County Health Department is also advising residents to check air quality conditions before engaging in outdoor activities. Air quality in the Custer area is rated “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” such as people with heart or lung diseases.

The Bellingham Herald reporter Tyler Urke contributed to this report.

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