Canadian fires cause bad air quality in the San Juans

More than 500 fires are burning in British Columbia and there are close to a dozen in Washington.

The smoke from these blazes is settling into lower elevations, causing poor air quality.

The closest air quality monitoring station in Anacortes reported the air as “unhealthy for sensitive groups” on Monday, Aug. 20.

San Juan County Health and Community Services advises the public to limit time spent outdoors and avoid strenuous outdoor activities.

The smoke from forest fires contains very small particles and gases, including carbon monoxide. These particles can get into your eyes and lungs causing eye, nose and throat irritation; wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and headache; and aggravation of existing lung, heart and circulatory conditions, including asthma and angina.

Contact your health care provider if you are experiencing smoke-related symptoms and are concerned about health effects. If your symptoms are serious and you are having trouble breathing, call emergency medical services.

For more information, visit To view up-to-date air quality monitoring across the state, visit