Health effects from smoke

Smoke from wildfires, wood stoves, outdoor burning, agricultural burning, and prescribed fires (used to manage forests) causes poor air quality that can hurt your health. We make daily burn decisions to help keep the air clean.

Small particles (PM10 and PM2.5) found in smoke are smaller than a grain of sand or a human hair.

Smoke is harmful to your health

Smoke is made up of gases and particles (also called particulate matter or PM) that can be dangerous if they're inhaled into your lungs. When a temperature inversion occurs, this smoke can be trapped close to the ground.

Smoke can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat.  It can make you wheeze, cough, and cause shortness of breath and headache. It can make existing heart and lung conditions worse. Read more about how wood smoke harms your health.

You can make a low-cost, yet effective, air cleaner.
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Make a clean air fan

Learn how to make a low-cost clean air fan. This simple fan-filter combination can reduce the amount of the tiny, harmful particles you breathe from wildfire smoke, wood smoke, dust, vehicle exhaust, and pesticide spray. Use it in a small room, with the windows and doors closed.

Burning alternatives

When air pollution from wood smoke is unhealthy, Ecology or local clean air agencies issue air quality burn bans.

People who burn wood for heat have more respiratory problems. To protect your health, consider switching to natural gas or electric for home heating. If that's not an option, make sure you are using a Washington-certified wood burning device.

Helpful tips


County Phone Email
Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, and Okanogan counties 509-575-2490
Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman counties 509-329-3400
San Juan County 360-407-6822
Benton, Spokane, Yakima, and all other Western Washington counties Contact your local clean air agency Contact your local clean air agency