Photo: Chris Anderson Q13 Seattle

The Seattle metropolitan area has been experiencing skies filled with smoke, due to nearby wildfires. Experts have noticed the diminishing air quality in the area, and the Air Quality index has been as high as 201.

To give an idea of what that means, a range over 151 is usually considered to be unhealthy, and according to a formula created by Berkely Earth, living in an area with an Air Quality index of 150 is the equivalent of smoking 7 cigarettes each day.

A source close to EIC who visited Seattle this week said that he could notice the smoke in the air as soon as he left the airport.

According to University of Washington weather expert Cliff Mass, this is the worst air quality that the area has seen in recorded history.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a press release urging residents to stay indoors, and listing a number of safe locations that they could visit if they did need a safe place to escape the smoke and heat.

Dr. Elizabeth Meade, chief of pediatrics at Swedish Medical Center, said that she has noticed an increase in emergency room visits since the fires began.

“We’ve noticed that over the last few days in particular, our numbers are ramping up, particularly in the emergency room. Most people are just complaining of difficulty breathing,” Meade told CBSNews.

Below is an ominous video taken from the top of Seattle’s iconic space needle, showing how thick the smoke is:

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