Facing wildfire smoke amid COVID-19

When Jake asked me to go on a sunset hike, I knew what was coming. We were in our favorite place: the Methow Valley of Eastern Washington. When we crested the top of the mountain, a few sunrays peeked through the clouds, lighting up the fertile valley below.

Still, when he got down on one knee, I was surprised, and overcome with happiness. Life seemed full of promise.

What can I do when the smoke rolls in?

Submitted by lhayward on Tue, 07/14/2020 - 14:00

The EDGE Community Engagement Core partnered with Clean Air Methow, and Anna Humphreys, a UW Public Health graduate student, to support communities in the Methow Valley during wildfire smoke events. This pamphlet sums up what Methow Valley community members said they felt during wildfire smoke events. It also suggests responses to their needs based on interviews and official information sources. We hope this pamphlet can be tailored to help other communities cope with their own wildfire smoke events.

FAST FACTS: How to Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

Submitted by lhayward on Fri, 09/20/2019 - 13:24

A two-sided handout developed in response to community concern during and following the Carlton Complex wildfire in Okanogan County eastern Washington in August, 2014. It is aimed for a public audience and for people who, because of age or health conditions are more susceptible to the health effects of smoke. Includes a list of strategies to protect yourself from wildfire smoke and re-suspended ash as well as links to more information.

Public health experts and climate researchers convene to address communication challenges related to wildfire smoke


As Central Washington became choked with wildfire smoke last summer, Dr. Mark Larson grew so concerned about air quality measures in Kittitas County that he couldn’t sleep for 10 days.

As the health officer for Kittitas County, Larson felt it was his duty to recommend canceling outdoor activities. But as a 20-year community resident, he also knew that the Kittitas Rodeo was right around the corner—a nationally known event that can bring in more than $8 million to the local economy in a single weekend.

EDGE engagement project lifts moods in the smoke-choked Methow Valley

Typically, summer in the Methow Valley is a time to hike, bike, camp, river raft, mountain climb, attend outdoor arts festivals, and otherwise enjoy the spectacular natural setting.

Lately, things are different. Wildfire season has hit the Methow Valley hard the last five years, causing hazardous smoke conditions that can persist for weeks on end, often making residents feel trapped and isolated.