Kittitas County Public Health | Environmental health



Monitor located at Hal Holmes Center, Ellensburg

Winter air quality in Kittitas County

Smoke from fires can be hazardous to everyone
Take these steps to protect your health

Stay informed about air quality

Visit WA Smoke Blog ( for current air quality conditions and smoke forecasts.

Pay attention to local news for health warnings and reports on air quality in your area.

Avoid smoky air

People with health conditions, such as lung or heart disease, diabetes, stroke or cold survivors, should limit their time outdoors, avoid strenuous physical activity, and keep fresh air. pure interior when smoke levels are “moderate”.

Babies, children, people over 65, and pregnant women should follow these tips when smoke levels are “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

Everyone should do this when the smoke levels are “unhealthy for everyone”.

Keep the indoor air clean

Close windows and doors, watch the heat, and stay hydrated. Use fans or an air conditioner (AC) when it is hot and set your AC to recirculate. If you don’t have air conditioning and it’s too hot to stay at home, go somewhere with air conditioning like a mall or library.

Do not smoke, use candles, or vacuum.

Use an air purifier with a HEPA filter.

Contact your health care provider

If you have heart or lung disease and your symptoms worsen when you smoke, contact your health care provider.

Call 911 if you or someone else has severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing.

Kittitas County stretches along the eastern slope of the Cascades. The county’s geography results in long periods of high pressure and air reversals during the winter months, when wood stoves are commonly used for heating. During this time, the pollution released into the air remains in the lower atmosphere until the changing conditions clear the valley. Ecology air quality data indicates Ellensburg has one of the highest levels of PM2.5in Washington State during the winter home heating season. Ellensburg has been identified by ecology and the state legislature as a vulnerable community for PM2.5 In recent years, fine particle air pollution in the Ellensburg area has repeatedly reached unsanitary levels. This is a concern not only for health reasons, but also because higher levels of fine particles could cause the Ellensburg area to violate federal ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).

Forest fire resources


The Kittitas County Department of Public Health (KCPHD) has evaluated air monitoring data from the Department of Ecology’s Real-Time Air Monitoring Station in Ellensburg, Washington since 1999 as an indicator environmental health. In the 2012 Kittitas County Community Health Assessment, poor air quality was identified as a concern by a group of key community partners. In that assessment, it was also noted that Kittitas County has a significantly higher death rate for influenza and pneumonia compared to Washington State as a whole. This can be one of the many factors associated with poor air quality.

Ecology contacted KCPHD in late 2013 to ask if they were interested in leading a community effort using state funding to reduce PM2.5 in Ellensburg. Efforts to reduce air pollution now may avoid violating the NAAQS in the future. The Kittitas County Public Health Department has convened an advisory committee to help with the air quality project. Information related to the Kittitas County Air Quality Advisory Committee can be found at this link.

Using a grant provided by Ecology in 2014, KCPHD conducted a community survey to find out how to best approach this community successfully to modify combustion behaviors and reduce particulate matter.2.5. The results of the Kittitas County survey will be used to create an educational campaign followed by a further community survey.

Kittitas County Public Health partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and joined the PM Advance program in August 2016. The PM Advance program encourages communities to take proactive steps to improve air quality and avoid violation of federal health standards. As part of this program, the Kittitas County Air Quality Advisory Committee and KCPHD are creating a sustainable 5-year action plan that includes voluntary efforts to limit harmful emissions.

Efforts to reduce PM2.5 The whole county will benefit all communities in Kittitas County.

PM Advance Program

Available information

Outdoor Burning Information

No-burning steps

Step 1

No exterior burning
No uncertified wood-burning appliances allowed. *

2nd step

No interior or exterior burning permitted. *

* Unless it is the only heat source in the house.

Questions, comments, do you want to help?

If you have any questions, contact the Kittitas County Public Health Department at (509) 962-7515 or [email protected]

Air quality complaints should be directed to Ecology’s Smoke Management Team (509) 575-2490



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