Tips to protect yourself from unhealthy air as wildfire smoke inundates Washington

A supermassive body of smoke is moving in from wildfires in California and Oregon. Air quality will be unhealthy in nearly every part of Washington state.

The state Department of Health (DOH) said when there is smoke in the air, and especially if you or members of your household are reacting to the smoke, there are some things you can do to stay safe.

Stay indoors with just members of your household, since we are still in a pandemic after all. The Washington DOH said it is much easier to spread Covid-19 inside than outdoors, and smoke can make a person more susceptible to respiratory infections like Covid-19.


Delay get-togethers until the air quality improves for everyone to be outside comfortably.

Reduce outdoor physical activity. Save your walks, jogs, and yard work for a day when the air quality is better.

Keep the air inside your home clean. Close your windows and doors to reduce the intake of smoke. Open them back up when the air quality is good to circulate the air.

Create a clean air room where you spend most of your time. The state Department of Ecology shows us how to DIY a box fan filter in this YouTube video to improve indoor air quality in a single room.

Don’t do anything that creates smoke or dust in the air, like burning candles or incense, smoking inside, frying or broiling, or vacuuming.

Kristin Bell and her family were evacuated out of their home in Pierce County due to the Sumner Grade Fire, and now even more heavy smoke will be moving in from the wildfires in Oregon and California.

“It was really hard to breathe. We needed to wear a mask just to breathe. It burned your eyes.

For healthy lungs, it’s difficult to breathe, so I can’t imagine how hard that is,” said Bell.

RELATED: Nearly 600,000 acres scorched by Washington wildfires, Inslee says

State health officials recommend wearing your cloth face covering to protect yourself and others from Covid-19, but it won’t help much with smoke.

Experts say a combination of N95 masks, HEPA filters, air purifiers, and clean air rooms is the best way to avoid smoke inhalation.

Stay informed about current and forecasted air quality on the Washington Smoke Information blog and your local clean air agency’s website.

For more information, visit the WA DOH Smoke from Fires webpage.