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News / Health / Clark County Health

Fire expected to degrade Clark County air quality for days

By Nika Bartoo-Smith, Columbian staff reporter
Published: October 17, 2022, 2:45pm

Air quality in parts of Clark County currently ranges between moderate and unhealthy as a result of the smoke from the Nakia Creek Fire.

The Vancouver area is expected to be in the moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups air quality range for the next few days while areas closer to the fire, such as Battle Ground and Yacolt are predicted to be in the unhealthy to hazardous level, according to Uri Papish, executive director of the Southwest Clean Air Agency.

The agency is extending its air quality advisory through Thursday when a stronger wind flow is expected to push the smoke east, according to Papish.

Papish recommends that people who may be more sensitive limit their time spent outdoors, limit strenuous activity and limit indoor air pollution by not burning candles or incense and keeping doors and windows closed.

If you are outside in areas with unhealthy for sensitive groups to hazardous air quality, Papish strongly recommends wearing a snug-fitting KN95 mask. Less-secure medical masks will not do much to help avoid inhaling particulate matter, according to Papish.

People at an increased risk for problems from decreased air quality include children, those over 65, people with heart and lung disease, people with respiratory infections, pregnant people and people who smoke, among others, according to a press release sent out by Clark County Public Health. The release did note that “even healthy people can have symptoms or health problems” when the air is smoky.

Some symptoms include: sore throat, headaches, burning eyes, coughing, shortness of breath and chest pain. If you are experiencing more severe symptoms, like shortness of breath or chest pain, the release urges individuals to seek medical attention.

“Check the air monitoring network,” Papish said. “Stay indoors and take measures to protect (your health).”

For up-to-date information on air quality in your area visit swcleanair.gov, airnow.gov or wasmoke.blogspot.com.

Columbian staff reporter