A nice break from smoky air at Evergreen State Fair, but hazy conditions still abound in region

MONROE, Wash. -- The Evergreen State Fair opened just as the smoke cleared out of the area, but Snohomish County is still not in the clear.

The fair on Friday expected more than 20,000 people and that is why organizers say air quality is so important.

At the fair on Friday, people were just grateful they could breathe with ease.

“It doesn’t smell like smoke, finally,” Crystle Street said.

Street was outside having fun with her two sons for the first time in days.

“It’s crazy in the house all the time, we live in small house so...,” Street said.

Unhealthy air conditions earlier this week had many cooped up indoors.

“I couldn’t see out my window, the trees over at the next house I couldn’t see them,” Carissa Coffin said.

Now with clearer skies, the fair is in full swing in Monroe.

“You can actually see, which is nice,” Street said.

But that visibility is in question for Saturday. Winds could blow another round of smoke into Snohomish County from B.C.

“We have a bunch of activities tomorrow so it’s kind of a bummer so we will see what it will turn out to be, I guess,” Coffin said.

The Evergreen State Fair says they have contingencies in case air quality worsens.

“We are concerned about the people as much as the animals out here,” said Hal Gausman, with Snohomish County Parks, Recreation & Tourism.

The fair says they would modify the level of activity for all of their animals if needed.

“We evaluate each day, we meet with our vets,” Gausman said.

In other parts of the fairgrounds, a filtration system is helping to keep the air clean inside one of their major event centers.

They also have extra rest stations this year and an emergency shelter with paramedics available on site.

Gausman says they will also update electronic signs so fairgoers can keep up to date on the air quality if things get bad again.

But at least on Friday, no one had to worry about smoke choking the air.

“This is the first time we are bringing all of our kids, so we are having a blast,” Coffin said.

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency says moderate conditions could get worse by Saturday in Snohomish County. If a lot of smoke blows in, conditions could become unhealthy for sensitive people. That means children, elderly and others with chronic diseases should limit their time outside.

Although experts are not expecting conditions to be as bad as earlier this week, when it was unhealthy for everyone, expert say they cannot be sure.

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency says unlike a weather forecast, air quality is more complicated to predict.

Experts say if you are going to spend a lot of time outside this weekend, make sure you are checking on air quality. They say if you are sensitive, do not stay outdoors for a lengthy period.