Spokane copes with poor air quality

SPOKANE, Wash. - Sunshine and smoke have become a popular theme across the state of Washington this week. Now, shifting winds are dumping even more smoke into the Spokane area.
The air may look polluted, but the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency says some days in 2015 were twice as bad. Mark Rowe has been monitoring Spokane's air for more than two decades.
"So far, this isn't too far out of the ordinary for wildfire smoke in August," Rowe said. "It is particularly heavy at the moment, but this is a common occurrence for this time of year."
The scientists at Spokane Clean Air work year round monitoring air quality in the Inland Northwest. But determining air quality requires more than just glancing out the window. The agency has several instruments located throughout Spokane which essentially sniff the air for particles, which are about 1/30th the diameter of a human hair, or about 2.5 micrometers in diameter.
"Right now, with these wildfires going on, most of those particles within that size range are smoke," said Rowe.
SRCAA downgraded Spokane's air quality to unhealthy Friday evening.