Air quality alert will be in effect until Wednesday, people are advised to stay indoors
YAKIMA Wash. -- If you've stepped outside your house you've most likely seen a smoky haze all over.
There's an air quality alert for the next couple of days recommending people stay indoors.
Emergency Department Nurse Manager at Virginia Mason Memorial hospital Kimberly Bersing says there are several health risks people can come across if they stay outside for too long.
"You can have mild symptoms like headache, watery eyes, feel a little short of breathe all the way up to feel a big exacerbation of a chronic condition like asthma or something like that where you end up having to come to the emergency room," said Bersing.
According to the Washington State Department of Ecology the smoke is a result of several fires in Eastern Washington, British Columbia and Montana.
Winds have pushed the smoke to central and southern parts of Washington.
Bersing says they have had a lot of people coming in with respiratory problems since the smoke started making its way here in Yakima.
Just yesterday they saw around 268 patients.
Bersing says that avoiding the smoke is the best thing people can do.
The Benton County Clean Air Agency says the air has reached unhealthy red levels because of the smoky conditions and recommends people stay indoors.
Some people don't seem to mind the conditions and are still spending time outside.
Jennifer Martinez says she needs to walk her dogs every single day because she lives in an apartment and this smoke will not prevent her from doing that.
"I don't find that it's bothering me at all. I just bring lots of water to keep hydrated and yeah I don't think I'll stay indoors its beautiful out," said Martinez.
The air quality alert will be in effect until Saturday at 12 in the afternoon.
Anyone having trouble breathing should contact their doctor as soon as possible.
For more information on the poor quality air alert click here.