The Washington State Department of Ecology has issued an air quality alert for the Yakima area that is in effect until 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 23.

The alert was issued Monday, August 20th and covers seven counties. It says the unhealthy air is due to large wildfires burning in the region.

In coordination with the air quality alert, the National Weather Service (NWS) said pollutants in smoke can cause burning eyes, runny nose, aggravate heart and lung diseases, and aggravate other serious health problems.

Children, the elderly, and individuals with respiratory illnesses are most at risk of serious health effects during the air quality alert. The alert calls for limiting outdoor activities and keeping children indoors when the air quality is poor.