CWU News

Air Quality in Kittitas County Fluctuates due to Wildfires

Air quality in Ellensburg was considered unhealthy for sensitive groups Tuesday morning, according to the state Department of Ecology's air monitoring site on Ruby Street, which means some people may have breathing problems or have worsened symptoms of existing asthma or lung disease. Sensitive groups include people with heart or lung disease, asthma, diabetes, infants, children, adults older than 65, pregnant women, or people who have had a stroke. These people should limit time spent outdoors, according to Ecology. 

For most of the day Monday the air quality in Ellensburg was considered very unhealthy, where some healthy people can have breathing problems.

When air is very unhealthy, Ecology recommends everyone stay indoors, do only light activities, and keep windows closed. Run air conditioners on re-circulate and close the outside air intake. At CWU, the HVAC systems on all of the buildings equipped with air handlers have been switched into full re-circulation mode in an effort to maintain the best possible inside air quality given the outside conditions.

People without air conditioning should take precautions against heat stress and consider temporarily relocating to an area with better air quality, such as a friend’s house, relative’s house, or a public space. These recommendations are especially important for sensitive groups.

If you must go outside when the air is very unhealthy or hazardous, wear an N95 respirator mask. CWU has N95 masks for students, faculty, staff and guests available upon request through the SURC Information Desk between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Masks also are available at the Red Cross in Ellensburg, Kittitas Valley Healthcare, the Kittitas County Public Health Department and the Kittitas County Sheriff's Office.

Links to useful information

Washington Smoke Information Blog | State Department of Health info on wildfire smoke

Incident command for Snag Canyon Fire | Incident command for South Cle Elum Ridge Fire