West Coast Fires Cause Unrest Across the Panhandle

Maci Weathers, Staff Writer

Monday evening smoke blanketed the Panhandle. AirNow, a government run service that checks the air quality across the nation announced that Amarillo’s air quality was considered unhealthy.  The cause of the air quality lowering was fires across the west coast of California and Canada.  A cold front shifted in the Amarillo area causing smoke and haziness large portions of the country. AirNow recommended that people remain indoors, and take short periods of time outside to avoid serious health problems.

Yet, at Randall High School most students will have to go outside for a period of time. Junior Milla Grimes said she experienced heavy allergies the following Tuesday.

“I felt sick and nauseous every time I got near (the smoke),” Grimes said. “It clouded my senses while walking to my car.”

Even students with no prolonged outside time said they were experiencing symptoms from the smokey fog.

“I didn’t feel any different other than feeling groggy all day,” junior Caitlin Bettag said.

Symptoms of smoke exposure can range from coughing to fatigue. While the Panhandle only received a light fog because of the smoke, some parts of the British Columbia had ashes falling in their backyard. Across the nation people are experiencing hazardous air all the way up to New York. The biggest concern is how long people can live with air quality as low as 193, as stubborn smoke looms in the areas of Seattle and Portland. Public closings and little time allowed outside can be annoying to tourists and people living there. But today, West Coast officials stated that tourists should not be worried about the fires or smoke.

Amarillo had only experienced a taste of what it was like in other parts of the nation. Places like parks and public pools near Seattle closed due to the unhealthy air. Yosemite Valley, a popular tourist attraction also closed due to hazardous air quality. Schools around the area of Portland have also closed through Friday.  These fires and news about smokey air are not stopping anytime soon. Most of the fires have already burned thousands of acres and caused unknown amounts of damage. Amarillo Firefighters and also other firefighters across the west coast are working everyday to battle the fires around the West Coast, Colorado and Canada.