Wildfire Smoke Gives DC Area Hazy Skies, Lower Air Quality

See a map of how smoke from wildfires is moving over the region

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It was not a regular cloudy day in the Washington, D.C. area as a layer of haze formed overhead from wildfires burning out west.

Smoke from dozens and dozens of wildfires has reached the ground and impacted the air quality, Storm Team4 Meteorologist Amelia Draper said.

Map: Wildfire Smoke Impact

On Thursday, air quality is expected to rise back to code green, which means the quality is good and poses little risk to anyone.

The improvement is thanks to a cold front bringing fresher, cooler and cleaner air into the region.

However, this phenomenon is becoming more common and experts say you can expect it to happen again this summer.

“These fires are going to be burning all summer,” said University of Washington wildfire smoke expert Dan Jaffe told the AP. “In terms of bad air quality, everywhere in the country is to going to be worse than average this year.”

The air quality was set to decline Wednesday to code orange, meaning the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups. Most people likely wouldn't feel serious effects, but be careful if you or a loved one are sensitive to pollution or have health conditions.

"Members of sensitive groups, children and adults with respiratory and heart ailments, may experience health effects and should limit time spent outside," the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments said.

Code orange is a step below where the D.C. area was rated Tuesday, code yellow.

Code yellow means there’s moderate pollution that could pose a health risk, especially to anyone who is sensitive to air quality,

For most people, moderate air quality will not jeopardize your health. Young children, older people or people with heart conditions are advised to take it easy if they go outside and watch for symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath.

The smoke is expected to be heaviest in the area through Wednesday, then scattered rain and storms will help push it out.

The air is expected to be cleaner and clearer by Thursday, but expect wildfire smoke to be making its way into the region through the weekend, Draper says.

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