The sunsets sure are beautiful, but our recent bouts with stagnant air are causing issues for many.

So much so, that the Washington State Department of Health has issued an air quality alert for the Columbia Basin.

With the temperatures hovering in the 20's during the day,  single-digits at night, and very little wind,   stagnant non-moving air is causing some problems for those with respiratory issues.

When the air is trapped near the surface like it is now,  dirt, smoke, particulates and other pollutants don't get swept away, and the air quality becomes poor.   The use of wood stoves and other heat sources can add to this.   The Department of Health reminds those with respiratory issues, and people over 65, to be careful with strenuous outside activity during conditions like this.   Those with significant breathing issues are almost immediately aware of changes in air quality.

The state has an air quality monitoring system that tracks pollutants, stagnant air and other related conditions.  Regularly updated, it can help people see if their region is experiencing poor air quality.