Smokey haze is predicted to gradually ease starting overnight
WHATCOM — With smoke from regional wildfires settled in, air quality in the county was at “very unhealthy” Monday morning.
The Northwest Clean Air Agency was giving that high-alert rating of particulate matter in the air for both Ferndale and Bellingham. Data from the state also put Lynden/Custer in the same category of “very unhealthy.”
A pall of whitish-brown air hung overhead in Whatcom County from Friday onward, turning the sun a brilliant orange at times. The smokey layer was predicted to gradually be blown eastward by stronger coastal breeze beginning Monday evening.
It is all from fires that have tormented both eastern Washington and much of Oregon and California since gusty winds got them whipped up out of control on Labor Day Sept. 7.
The “very unhealthy” tag means particulate matter in the air is at a level from 201 to 300. “Unhealthy” means between 151 and 200. “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” is 101 to 150 while “moderate” is 51 to 100.
Ferndale’s level was 276 at about 11:30 a.m. Monday. Lynden/Custer was at 285, Bellingham was at 297, and Columbia Valley was right at 200.
Despite the general unhealthy air, most work activity including construction appeared to be taking place as normal in the Lynden area on Monday.
However, the outdoor COVID-19 testing that was scheduled in the Lynden area on Friday and in Bellingham both Saturday and Monday was canceled by the Whatcom County Health Department.
The air quality was also at “very unhealthy” for Anacortes and Mount Vernon, in a part of the nation that is otherwise known as a standout for pristine skies. Columbia Valley in eastern Whatcom County had an “unhealthy” reading.
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