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Lower valley air quality not better – yet

— If it seemed that yesterday’s drive to work was a little darker than Tuesday’s, it was.

Daily Sun staff described all this smoke as claustrophobic and depressing.

“I can’t see the hills,” one said.

Wild fires around the state and Northwest have combined with little air movement to clog the skies.

Clear visibility even at 11 a.m. yesterday was only about one-fourth of a mile on Interstate 82 between Granger and Sunnyside.

Airnow.com showed the Air Quality Index to be at 235 for Yakima and 236 for the Yakama Reservation.

“It’s very unhealthy air,” Yakima Regional Clean Air Authority’s Mark Edler said.

Edler said good air needs to be 35 or lower. That means and average of 35 microns of particulates per cubic meter over a 24-hour period.

People all over the lower valley are reacting to air quality alerts that exist for the area.

Sunnyside School District’s grade school children were not allowed to go outdoors yesterday for the second straight day.

Prosser, which did the same the last two days, put out a statement to cover this period of bad air.

The Prosser School District regularly monitors air quality, following EPA guidelines, prior to releasing students for outside activities.

“Should the air quality be unhealthy, outdoor activities will be moved indoors or be canceled. Middle School and High School sports practice and game decisions will be determined and posted on our website and Facebook,” the statement said.

All school districts are doing as Prosser, reacting as conditions change, or not.

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