Photo by Al Camp
Participants in the Aug. 18 Warrior Stampede run up Suicide Hill under smoky skies.
As of Tuesday, August 21, 2018
OMAK – Smoky, hazy air continues to blanket Okanogan County and the rest of the Pacific Northwest because of multiple fires burning in the region.
Visibility was reduced a half-mile to three miles for most of the past several days, according to the National Weather Service.
An air quality alert is in place for Okanogan, Ferry and Chelan counties. The National Weather Service forecast for the Omak area calls for haze and smoke for the next several days, with highs ranging from the upper 80s to lower 90s.
Under the alert, unhealthy air will be common because of area fires, the weather service said. Air quality alerts have been issued by the state Department of Ecology and the Colville Confederated Tribes.
Children, the elderly and individuals with respiratory illnesses are most at risk.
As of mid-afternoon Monday, Omak had an air quality index reading of 168, which is considered unhealthy, according to AirNow.com. Most of Okanogan County fell under the “unhealthy” category on the website’s map.
AirNow uses data from the Northwest Clean Air Agency, Olympic Region Clean Air Agency, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and state Department of Ecology.
To help people cope with smoke, Okanogan County Public Health is offering free N-95 masks.
Masks are available from the health district office, 1234 S. Second Ave., Okanogan; Oroville City Hall, 1308 Ironwood St.; Tonasket City Hall, 209 N. Whitcomb Ave.; Omak City Hall, 2 N. Ash St.; Omak Visitor Information Center, off Omak Avenue; Family Health Centers, 1003 Koala Drive, Omak; Caso’s Family Foods, 2406 Elmway, Okanogan; Gene’s Harvest Foods, 22 W. Apple Ave., Omak; Omak Feed and Supply 3 W. Dewberry Ave., Omak; Okanogan Market IGA, 310 S. Second Ave., Okanogan, and LifeLine Ambulance offices, 913 Koala Ave., Omak; 1311 Ironwood St., Oroville, and 21 E. Fifth St., Tonasket.