COVID-19 and Wildfire Smoke

The 2020 wildfire season is different from previous years as we continue the COVID-19 response. New information continues to emerge regarding the health impacts associated with COVID-19 and wildfire smoke. Research shows that exposure to air pollutants like wildfire smoke can irritate the lungs, cause inflammation and alter immune function, which can increase susceptibility to respiratory infections, likely including COVID-19. This is of concern because current COVID-19 restrictions also limit standard public health recommendations to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

Wildfire smoke is an increasing public health threat in Spokane County and across Washington state. As poor air quality caused by wildfires continues to affect the public during wildfire season, the need for increased preparedness becomes even more important. Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) coordinates with other local health jurisdictions, tribal governments, and Washington State Department of Health to provide health-related information and guidance to the community before and during wildfire incidents.

Wildfire Smoke & Poor Air Quality

Smoke from wildfires impacts local air quality and can cause immediate health effects including coughing, trouble breathing and shortness of breath, especially in individuals with pre-existing health conditions and others who are sensitive to smoke pollution. Read more about the other symptoms of prolonged exposure to wildfire smoke here.

SRHD encourages Spokane County residents to understand health risks associated with wildfire smoke and take precautions to protect their health. By understanding the risks and preparing ahead of time, individuals can minimize their exposure to smoke.

Learn More

The topics listed below provide more information about health risks associated with poor air quality and how individuals can limit their exposure, as well as information about active wildfire reporting and air quality monitoring



Spokane Regional Clean Air


Washington Smoke Blog

If you have questions about the health effects of wildfire smoke, call the Washington Poison Center (WPC) at 800.222.1222.

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