Community News

Heavy smoke from large wildfires burning in British Columbia is causing poor air quality in parts of Whatcom and Skagit counties. Smaller local fires are contributing to the problem.

The Northwest Clean Air Agency is advising people to check air quality often and follow the state health guidelines to protect themselves.

Air quality has been fluctuating between very unhealthy and moderate since Sunday in Lynden, Bellingham, and Mount Vernon. It was at its worst about 8 p.m. and continued to be bad through the night.

As of 10:30 a.m. on Monday, conditions had improved to moderate in Bellingham and Mount Vernon, but forecasters expect air quality to fluctuate and remain poor overall for the next couple of days.

The area isn’t likely to see consistent improvement until Thursday or Friday, when the forecast calls for a shift in the wind direction.

“This kind of air quality is very unusual in our area,” said Northwest Clean Air Agency Deputy Director Mark Buford. “I don’t remember the last time we told people that they could travel south to the Seattle area to find cleaner air.”