Smoke clears

The view looking east from Thomas Road in Bow in August 2017 shows clear skies after a weekend weather change cleared wildfire smoke from the region.

Skagit County is continuing its streak of clean air when it comes to ozone and particle pollution levels, once again scoring well in the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report.

Skagit County received an “A” grade for particle pollution and was rated one of the cleanest counties in the United States for ozone pollution.

The Northwest Clean Air Agency, which regulates air quality in Skagit and surrounding counties, cautioned that the report doesn’t include data from 2018, during which summer wildfires resulted in significant smoke in the region.

“While this is mostly good news for now, we expect results will decline when 2018 smoke impacts are factored into next year’s report,” Northwest Clean Air Agency Executive Director Mark Buford said in a news release. “And all signs point to wildfire impacts continuing into the future, so we are going to be facing ongoing air quality issues.”

The most recent State of the Air report, which includes data from 2015, 2016 and 2017, predicts air quality will worsen in the future due to wildlife smoke.

Nearby Whatcom County was impacted during the 2015-2017 period by wildlife smoke, receiving mixed air quality ratings in what the Northwest Clean Air Agency called “an unwelcome change from previous years.”

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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