Preparing for Wildfires

COVID-19 and Wildfire Smoke

Even though the vaccination rate in our community continues to rise, there are still many people who have not yet been vaccinated or may not be able to get vaccinated. 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. So it’s important to understand how to protect yourself from both COVID-19 and wildfire smoke. And if you haven’t already, consider getting vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death related to COVID-19.


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

Wildfire smoke 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.