Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by these devastating wildfires across our state. We pulled together some resources we have found helpful in ensuring that we all stay as informed and safe as possible.
State of Washington wildfire resources
Washington’s Department of Natural Resources has a central list of resources for those impacted by wildfires, including information about the active wildfires in Washington and a list of local emergency management contacts.
The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center is another site with information and updates about the active forests in the region.
Where to check your air quality
Poor air quality is a big threat to public health. According to the Washington Department of Ecology:
“Particle pollution, also called particulate matter (PM), is a mixture of tiny solids or liquid droplets that includes smoke, soot, dirt, and dust floating in the air…. Particle pollution affects the airways and lungs, and can cause problems in other parts of your body. It’s especially bad for those with chronic heart and lung disease (like asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema), children, and the elderly. It worsens these diseases, which can lead to hospitalization or even early death.
Children are at high risk because their lungs are still growing and they spend more time at high activity levels. Exercise and physical activity cause people to breathe faster and more deeply, taking more particles into their lungs. Even if you’re healthy, you may experience temporary symptoms, such as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory system.”
Be sure to check your local air quality regularly and follow health and safety guidelines.
- Washington Department of Ecology Air Quality Map & Smoke Forecast
- Washington Smoke Blog
- IQ Air
- Purple Air
Aid organizations to support
Red Cross Northwest Region: The Red Cross has opened shelters for people fleeing fires. They have asked that anyone looking to support make a financial donation and are not accepting supplies at this time. You can donate on their website or by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. If you’d rather volunteer your time, you can visit redcross.org/volunteer.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation: Thousands of firefighters are battling fires in the Northwest and down the coast. Our courageous wildland firefighters are putting themselves in incredible danger. You can support the families of firefighters who have been injured or lost their lives through the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
Serve the People WA is taking donations via venmo to secure N95 masks for the unhoused community to protect them from the hazardous smoke that the Seattle area is experiencing.
Take action on climate change
For decades, scientists have warned that we can expect more extensive and severe wildfires as the planet warms. We can no longer ignore the clear stamp of climate change as we watch the wildfires of 2020 destroy our incredible state. We have to do everything we can to ensure that we take meaningful steps to tackle climate change here in Washington and across the country by transitioning away from fossil fuels, embracing clean energy and building a cleaner, greener future. We want to let our elected leaders know that tackling climate change has to be a top priority.
Join the WashPIRG Students email list to stay updated on actions to take on climate change.
We are keeping everyone in our thoughts. Please stay safe.