Air Quality

Air quality is a public health priority across Washington State. The main sources of outdoor air pollution in Washington State are motor vehicles, outdoor burning, and wood smoke.  Walla Walla County Department of Community Health works closely with local and regional partners to protect and inform the public informed about the effects of wildfire smoke. Preparing for wildfire smoke ahead of time is the best way to prevent negative health outcomes. We will continue to update this page and our social media pages throughout wildfire season. 

To protect public health, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and partners developed the AirNow interactive map that allows users to view current and forecast air quality maps and data across the country. AirNow uses the official U.S. Air Quality Index to measure the amounts of pollutants in the air and communicate whether the air quality is healthy or unhealthy for you.
Washington Air Quality Pollution Guide printable version available.

Washington Children and Youth Activities Guide for Air Quality 

Washington Air Quality Pollution Guide

Interactive Smoke and Wildfire Map

Wildfire smoke contains a mixture of chemicals and particles, which can be harmful to your health. Because some particle matters are so small, they can reach lower areas of the lungs when inhaled, affecting the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Smoke inhalation can be especially dangerous for sensitive groups, including:

  • People with health conditions including heart and lung diseases, respiratory illnesses, and diabetes.
  • Infants and children (under the age of 18)
  • Pregnant people
  • Adults over the age of 65
  • People who work outdoors.

Common symptoms of smoke inhalation can include symptoms similar to allergies, including: 
  • Coughing
  • Eye irritation
  • Sinus irritation
  • Sore throat
More serious symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Severe coughing/irritated airways
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Heart palpitations
Learn more about short-term and long-term health effects from wildfire smoke exposure here

Preparing for Wildfire Smoke

You can protect yourself from and your family from wildfire smoke by
  • Staying up to date on current and forecast air quality.
  • Limiting your physical activity and time spent outdoors when air quality is considered unhealthy. 
  • Watching for symptoms of smoke exposure.
  • Keeping indoor air clean by: 
    • Closing all windows and doors
    • Setting air conditioners in your home and car to recirculate. 
    • Using an air cleaner with an HEPA filter. 
    • Creating a clean-room in your home. 
    • Avoiding activities that create more air pollution, including smoking, cooking, using candles, or vacuuming. 

If you do not have access to an efficient air filter, a DIY air filter fan is an easy and cost effective way to clean air inside your home: 

Additional Resources:


Smoke From Fires | Washington State Department of Health

Smoke-Ready Toolbox for Wildfires | US EPA

Wildfire Smoke (

Washington Smoke Information: HEALTH INFORMATION (

Washington Smoke Blog