Smoky skies, poor air from wildfires return to Northwest

SEATTLE -- Poor air quality will be common across parts of the Pacific Northwest this week as winds push smoke from surrounding wildfires into the region, forecasters and regulators said.

Air quality alerts are in effect for much of Washington state through Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Smoky, hazy conditions are making a return to the Puget Sound region because of wildfires in British Columbia and the Cascade Mountains, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. Smoke could worsen into unhealthy levels by Monday, the agency said.

An air quality alert is also in place across eastern Washington and north Idaho. Smoke from fires in British Columbia drifting into Washington and Idaho will cause unhealthy air levels through Tuesday, the weather service said.

On Sunday afternoon, several monitors in north-central Washington state showed air quality at hazardous levels.

Two women's college soccer matches scheduled at Gonzaga University in Spokane and Eastern Washington University in Cheney were canceled Sunday because of the poor air quality, university officials said.

Air pollution can be a particular concern to sensitive groups such as the elderly, children and those with respiratory conditions. But high levels of pollution can affect everyone.

Environmental regulators also issued a pollution advisory for southwest Washington, Portland and much of the Willamette Valley. The air quality level is expected to reach into unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Conditions are expected to get worse Sunday night and last through Wednesday.

An air pollution advisory for southern Oregon remains in effect until further notice.