Dozens of people have shared how the smoke has affected their summer in the Pacific Northwest, many describing serious health issues or canceled outdoor plans.
The “apocalyptic skies” in Seattle are set to end, capping a series of smoky days that some say has been as depressing as the air looks.
Dozens across the Puget Sound region have contacted The Seattle Times since Wednesday afternoon via social media, phone calls and email to share how the haze has impacted their summer, many describing stories of serious health issues or outdoor plans canceled because of the smoke.
Their responses varied on a spectrum from somewhat tolerant — saying places north have it worse — to outright miserable. One reader said the smoke has made her want to move away.
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“I usually walk 3.5 miles each day,” wrote Jim Fontana. “Now, I am staying in, not walking to avoid the smoke. Also, we skipped going hiking at Mt. Rainier last weekend.”
Meteorologists on Thursday morning said they expect the smoke, which blanketed the city more than a week ago because of wildfires in British Columbia, to start dissipating in the evening and continue petering out Friday as southern winds push over the Puget Sound region.
“Could have lifted 3 days ago & it still wouldn’t be soon enough,” one Seattleite tweeted.
A couple of people said they rescheduled or canceled trips, including to British Columbia and the Cascades, because of the cloudy air affecting their lungs and views.
For physical affects, people cited coughs, headaches, itchy eyes and respiratory or nasal problems. Shelley Nixon, for instance, said because of her asthma she’s had to stay inside and miss out on gardening, boating, exercising and getting a tan.
Visitors chimed in, too, one person describing how the “hot and mad dust” has affected mountain vistas and traveling plans.
A 15-year-old “dedicated environmental activist” described how the smoke has made this summer feel different from past years.
“Up until now, I took clean air for granted,” the teen wrote. “Seattle is known for our crisp, cool air and being green with so many evergreen trees. Right now, because of fires in B.C. caused by dry hot weather (cough, global warming, cough) the air is thick, stickey, and suffocating.”
“It kills me what’s happening to my beautiful Pacific Northwest,” the 15-year-old added.
One Twitter user put blame on our neighboring country for the smoke, pointing to Seattle’s rainy season — which this year made history as the wettest — as a reason the city deserves clear summer skies.
Another respondent expressed sympathy for Canadians fighting the wildfires.
Tom Munyon, of Marysville, described how he and his wife, who has congestive heart failure and uses an oxygen tank, are coping.
“Since she doesn’t like the A/C running constantly, I’ve had to turn up the air filter a notch to keep the inside air as clear as possible for those times when the windows are open,” he wrote in an email.
Other responses were less dismal, though, saying the haze has some positives, such as lower summer temperatures and pretty sunsets and moonrises.
“The smoke isn’t bad at all anymore,” one person wrote. “It was awful a week ago, much better now & the moon has been gorgeous. Just feel bad for those up north.”