Sunday, January 16, 2022
Jan. 16, 2022

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Officials warn of unhealthy air quality through the weekend in Clark County

By , Columbian staff writer

Officials are warning of expected elevated levels of air pollution from smog and wildfire smoke for Clark County through the weekend, on top of the triple-digit heat wave.

The Southwest Clean Air Agency and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality advisory and predicted air quality will be deemed “moderate” or “unhealthy for sensitive groups” for Clark, Cowlitz and Skamania counties. The air Friday afternoon was in the moderate range in Vancouver and unhealthy for sensitive groups in the northeast part of the county. The air in the Columbia River Gorge was considered unhealthy.

The agencies recommend sensitive groups, such as older people, children and those with asthma or lung disease, limit time outdoors while pollution levels are elevated. Pollution usually peaks in the late afternoon or early evening, according to the Southwest Clean Air Agency.

The smog and smoke appeared to be keeping Friday’s temperatures cooler than Thursday’s. Temperatures peaked in Vancouver at 103 degrees on Thursday and 101 on Wednesday. Friday was forecasted to be the third and final day of the week with triple-digit heat, but metro-area highs reached only into the mid-90s.

The weather service forecasted a high of 93 degrees for Vancouver Saturday.

The air quality advisory means the agencies ask people to help reduce air pollution from cars, mowers, paint and aerosol sprays. Officials recommend people avoid any type of burning, avoid leaving an engine idling, limit driving, use public transportation, avoid using gas-powered mowers or yard equipment, avoid painting or using aerosol spray and refuel cars during cool evening hours.

People can find information on the affects of air pollution on The Washington Department of Health’s website. The current air quality index can be found on the state’s Department of Ecology’s website.