Mid-Columbia residents should plan on limiting outdoor activities they have planned as smoke from regional wildfires continues to affect air quality.
State officials said that while the air quality in Eastern Washington improved slightly Saturday, it could deteriorate today and remain poor throughout the week.
"Temperature inversions are expected to be strong but are forecast to break up during the day in most places. Yet with light and variable winds, pollutants will not disperse as well," according to a release from the Washington Department of Ecology.
A number of wildfires in Eastern Washington, especially the Wenatchee Complex near Wenatchee and the Barker Canyon Complex near Grand Coulee, have filled the region's air with smoke as they've burned tens of thousands of acres.
Counties to the east of the Tri-Cities are the most affected by an air stagnation warning in effect until Tuesday evening, according to state officials. However, Franklin and Walla Walla counties have air quality in the "unsafe for sensitive groups" category, which affects people with lung conditions, children and the elderly.
Gov. Chris Gregoire has instituted a burn ban in Eastern Washington to prevent more fires from breaking out. The ban applies to all agricultural and outdoor burning and is in place until Tuesday.
"With more warm, dry weather expected -- the potential for additional fire activity remains incredibly high," Gregoire said in a release.
"Our fire crews are already pushed to the limits. We have to take every step possible to lessen our risk of more fires during this especially vulnerable time."