Smoky skies, poor air from wildfires return to Northwest

The grey areas of this map show areas under a special air quality statement from Environment Canada

The grey areas of this map show areas under a special air quality statement from Environment Canada

"Air quality levels are going up more quickly than expected in the Puget Sound Region and we are reaching levels unhealthy for everyone in some areas", an agency announcement said.

- Continued smoke from Northern California wildfires, along with pollution from cars, has prompted the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to issue a Spare the Air alert for Sunday. "The smoke is so bad, I looked around to make sure the neighbor's house wasn't on fire", one reader posted to the Tri-City Herald's Facebook page.

Air quality could remain in the at least the "unhealthy" range or worse until at least Tuesday evening, according to the Benton Clean Air Agency.

Air quality planner for Metro Vancouver Julie Saxton explains it's hard to say when the smoke will clear.

Smoke originated from BC's 600-plus wildfires burning is making it's way out east, with Alberta and Saskatchewan issusing similar alerts.

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Two women's college soccer matches scheduled at Gonzaga University in Spokane and Eastern Washington University in Cheney were canceled Sunday because of the poor air quality, university officials said.

The Spare the Air alert for smog on Sunday is the eighth issued this year by the district.

Air conditioners should be set to "recirculate" to prevent pulling more smoky air indoors.

N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution.

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