As the week nears its end, the air quality has steadily worsened in a number of places around North Central Washington.

According to the Department of Ecology Air Monitoring Network, air quality readings were in the “Very Unhealthy” category in the Lake Chelan and Methow Valleys Thursday afternoon, while indexes in the Upper Wenatchee Valley were listed as “Unhealthy.”

Stephanie May with the Washington Department of Ecology says the worsening air quality is due to smoke being produced from several wildfires in the state.

“The smoke in Lake Chelan is coming from the fires in the North Cascades National Park fires, and the Wenatchee area smoke is coming in from those fires and from the Lake Wenatchee area fires. And it’s all contributing to some unhealthy air quality in the area.”

May adds when the air quality reaches unhealthy levels, there are several basic things you can do to lessen its impact on your health.

“The best way to protect your health is to stay indoors and keep that air quality as clean as possible. Keep your windows and doors closed. If you have an air conditioner, make sure that you set it to recirculate to close off any outside air because you don’t want to draw any smoke into your home.”

A shift in wind patterns late Thursday is expected to bring some relief to most of the region by Friday morning, but May cautions that locales that are close to where the fires are burning could be dealing with lingering smoke and diminished air quality readings for several more days.

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