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Wildfire smoke prompts air quality burn ban in Whatcom, Skagit, Island counties

Oct. 19, 2022

Oct. 19, 2022

The Northwest Clean Air Agency is calling a Stage 2 air quality burn ban for Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties because harmful levels of wildfire smoke continue to impact local air quality.

Outdoor burning – including agricultural burning and recreational fires such as campfires and fire pits – is prohibited during a Stage 2 air quality burn ban. Use of wood stoves for home heating is also prohibited unless it is the sole source of a home’s heat.

The air quality burn ban will remain in place until conditions change. Current forecasts call for a dramatic improvement on Friday as rain and winds move into the region.

This air quality burn ban is separate from, and in addition to, fire safety burn bans already in effect because of increased fire danger in the three counties.

People can inhale tiny smoke particles deeply into lungs and damage delicate tissues. That can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse. Air pollution is especially harmful to children, people with heart and lung problems, and adults ages 65 and older.

NWCAA recommends remaining indoors as much as possible with windows and doors closed. Avoid outdoor activity if possible. If you have masks such as a KN-95s, wearing them could provide additional protections.

For more information on how to protect yourself and others from wildfire smoke, see NWCAA’s Wildfire Smoke Information page:

Burn ban violators could face fines and other enforcement actions.

The ban is based on weather forecasts and current air pollution from small particles. Right now, air quality is predicted to be worse than the national health-based standard for at least 24 hours.

Find information on how to protect yourself and others during wildfire smoke events on NWCAA’s website (

Check NWCAA’s website ( for up-to-date burn ban information or check Twitter (@NWCleanAir); NWCAA’s Facebook page; or Instagram (nwcleanair).

More information

  • Washington Smoke Information blog:
  • Statewide air quality monitoring: Washington Department of Ecology.
  • Health questions? Contact your local health department:
    • Skagit County Health: 360-416-1500
    • Island County Health: 360-679-7350
    • Whatcom County Health: 360-778-6000

 The Northwest Clean Air Agency is responsible for enforcing federal, state, and local air quality regulations in Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties. In addition to permitting and regulating industrial sources of air pollution, the agency provides services and information related to asbestos, indoor air quality, outdoor burning, wood stoves, and fireplaces. More information about the agency is available at