Wildfires drive down air quality in E. Washington

Smoke and flames are seen from the air at the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Smoke and flames are seen from the air at the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Drifting wildfire smoke has lowered air quality in much of Eastern Washington and parts of northern Idaho.

The Washington Ecology Department and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality have issued an air quality alert.

They say smoke particles could irritate eyes and noses and aggravate heart and lung disease. Vulnerable people are advised to remain indoors. Favorable weather with a chance of rain midweek should clear the air.

The alert covers Adams, Asotin, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille (pahn-duh-RAY’), Spokane, Stevens and Whitman counties in Washington. And Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties in Idaho.

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