Monday, May 6, 2013

Air Time: Wildfires heat up, bring toxic smoke

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

Wildfires are burning already in several locations in Washington, just months after the nation watched as fires consumed vast tracts of central and eastern Washington, overwhelming local communities with hazardous, choking smoke.It was a stark, brutal lesson about the destructive power of wildfires. The air quality in some central Washington communities was so unhealthy for so long that many residents were compelled to evacuate their homes just so they could find clean air to breathe.

The photo on the right from the Daily Record in Ellensburg gives just a snapshot of what happened last summer and fall.

The current fires are a potential reminder of that – and a possible harbinger of the wildfire season ahead, which began this year in Washington on April 15, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

This week (May 5-11) is Wildfire Awareness Week. You can learn more wildfire awareness and activities, resources and learning opportunities in local communities by checking out this DNR news release.

All wildfires have the potential to unleash large amounts of unhealthy smoke. Here are wildfire-related questions and answers that the Washington Department of Health, Ecology and other state and federal agencies developed during last year’s devastating wildfires.

No comments: