The haze isn’t going away, and air quality is at its lowest yet. Thanks, wildfires

The smoky haze is back, and regional air quality has dropped to its lowest level this year.

Nineteen wildfires are burning across more than 300,000 acres in Washington and in Oregon, filling the skies with thick smoke. Officials said fires from British Columbia are also sending smoke our way.

On Tuesday, air in the Tacoma area registered as a mixture of unhealthy for sensitive groups and moderate, according to the Washington Smoke Information page.

It should improve a bit and hover around moderate by Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

A high pressure ridge moved in Monday, meaning warmer temperatures and drier conditions.

“This poor air quality condition will continue until there is a significant change in weather pattern,” according to the Smoke Information page.

Temperatures will stay in the low 80s until Thursday, when they dip into the upper 70s.

A special weather statement issued by the National Weather Service is in effect through Tuesday, warning about degrading air quality.

Children, elderly folks and those with respiratory illnesses are the most at risk.

Smoke may cause irritation in your eyes, throat and nose, as well as wheezing, coughing, headaches and shortness of breath, the state Department of Health warned.

Stacia Glenn; 253-597-8653