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caption: People look toward a hazy Seattle skyline as wildfire smoke from Canada arrives in the area, on Thursday, August 12, 2021, at Gas Works Park in Seattle.
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People look toward a hazy Seattle skyline as wildfire smoke from Canada arrives in the area, on Thursday, August 12, 2021, at Gas Works Park in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Western WA is covered by smoke again. But for how long?

UPDATED 9/21/22 2:00 pm This story has been updated with additional information.

There’s smoke in the air again this week, thanks to winds from the east that are bringing smoke from the Bolt Creek fire into the Puget Sound region. And an inversion is trapping that smoke close to the ground.

“This is not a good day to run a marathon,” said Dan Jaffe, a professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of Washington in Bothell.

Jaffe said he expects waves of smoke from the Bolt Creek fire to waft over the Puget Sound area over the next couple of days. So if you want to exercise or spend time outdoors and have some flexibility, it’s worth checking to see when the air quality in your neighborhood will be best. Jaffe compiled some of the places he looks for air quality on his blog.

He also recommends filtering the indoor air in your home with an air purifier or DIY box fan filter, if you have one on hand.

The National Weather Service expects winds from the west to clean up the air in most of the Puget Sound area Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday.

The King County Regional Homelessness Authority opened a temporary clean-air shelter in Seattle on Wednesday afternoon, for unhoused people who need to get out of the smoke.

The Compass Housing Alliance, near Pioneer Square, will be open from noon till 8 p.m. The homelessness authority has not yet decided whether or not to provide any overnight shelter to those who need it.

The King County Office of Emergency Management wrote in an email that its response has been to "advise [those jurisdictions affected by the smoke] of the conditions and give them guidance documents" as well as to "amplify messages on SM [social media] about the smoke."



The parts of Snohomish County close to Bolt Creek fire can expect bad air quality off and on, for as long as the fire burns. The Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management does not have clean-air shelters to send people to and is instead directing them to take steps to clean up their own indoor air.