Wildfire information

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Avoid unnecessary burning

April 2, 2020 – During the COVID-19 crisis, local fire departments and first responders are doing everything they can to protect their own health so that they are ready to protect others. Many people in Washington communities are also extremely concerned about their respiratory health. So before starting an outdoor burn of any type, please consider the potential impacts on your neighbors and on local emergency responders, and postpone or cancel your burn if possible.

For information on alternatives to burning, visit ecology.wa.gov/burningalternatives. To report an illegal burn or unhealthy smoke, call 1-866-211-6284 or visit ecology.wa.gov/reportburning.

Wildfires in Washington are on the rise due to increased temperatures and less precipitation. Wildfires threaten air quality, health, the environment, and the economy.

When wildfires occur, we notify the public of poor air quality that may impact their health, and forecast smoke conditions. We do this in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, the Washington departments of Natural Resources and Health, and the National Weather Service. 

We are monitoring air quality

We use air monitors around the state to track air quality. Our network of monitors measure air pollution year-round. During wildfires, we often add more monitors. Visit our air monitoring page to view air quality levels in your community and be sure to check for burn bans.
This map uses the Federal Air Quality Index (AQI). You may notice discrepancies in colors shown on this map and those reported on Washington's Air Monitoring Network. This is because Washington uses the Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA) index that is more protective of public health than the AQI. If in doubt as to which better represents public health risk, use the more stringent of the two (i.e., the map showing worse air quality).

View the Washington Smoke Blog for more information on current wildfire smoke and air quality conditions, updated daily during wildfire season. 

Wildfires in Washington 

Due to climate change, the risk of wildfires is increasing. Temperatures are rising, heat waves are becoming more frequent and longer, and summers are becoming drier. Current climate change modeling indicates these conditions are likely to become the norm in the decades ahead. Climate scientists project 1.1 million acres per year will burn by the 2040s, putting Washington’s air quality and forest lands at risk.

As the frequency and intensity of wildfires increase, so do their impacts. Wildfires can:
  • Cause unhealthy levels of air quality, creating respiratory problems for some people.
  • Threaten homes, property, and agriculture.
  • Destroy forestland and its resources.
  • Damage habitat for wildlife.
Learn more about how smoke affects your health.