As wildfires continue to rage throughout eastern Washington, officials said on Tuesday that air quality in Seattle had gotten worse than that of Beijing.
Around noon on Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that Seattle’s air-quality index was at 171 (unhealthy) while in China, where air pollution is a persistent, major health threat, the Beijing U.S. Embassy Real-time Air Quality Index was at 38 (good), KIRO reported.
Officials warned older residents and young children or people with heart or lung disease to “avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.”
Washington State has had 939 wildfires this year – more than ever before – burning more than 34,000 acres protected by the state's Department of Natural Resources, the Seattle Times reported, citing a spokesperson from the agency.
Poor air quality has spread to other parts of the state, and even parts of northern Idaho reported poor air quality on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
A tweet from the NWS reported last week that smoke from the western fires had traveled as far as the East Coast.
Officials are urging residents to limit outdoor activity when possible.
The Associated Press contribute to this report.