Wildfire Smoke Workplace Safety & Health Rulemaking


The EPA changed the Air Quality Index (AQI) breakpoints on May 6, 2024, and L&I filed an Expedited Rulemaking (CR-105) on May 21, 2024, to update the AQI values referenced in L&I's permanent rules. The requirements based on PM2.5 concentrations in the L&I wildfire smoke rules are not changing.

See all the rulemaking activity for wildfire smoke on our L&I Rulemaking page.

Learn more about our rulemaking process and terminology.


Wildfire smoke exposure is increasing in frequency and intensity, presenting health risks to workers. After the historic 2020 wildfires, L&I received and accepted a petition for rulemaking on this topic. In December, 2023, L&I adopted permanent workplace safety and health rules to address exposures to PM2.5, the tiny particles in wildfire smoke.

These tiny particles can reach the deepest parts of the lungs, causing serious health problems. PM2.5 is particularly dangerous for people who work outdoor jobs like construction, agriculture, and certain other industries. When they breathe in the tiny particles in smoke, it increases the risk of reduced lung function, aggravated asthma, heart failure, and even early death.

To address the hazard presented by wildfire smoke, the permanent wildfire smoke rules require employers to prepare and implement a plan to protect workers from wildfire smoke.

On December 14, 2023, L&I filed the Permanent Rulemaking (CR-103P) for this rulemaking. L&I added agriculture-specific requirements into Chapter 296-307 WAC and created Chapter 296-820 WAC, Wildfire Smoke, for all other industries. These rules became effective on January 15, 2024.

For more details on what is required, see the "Rule Drafts & Documents" section of this page.

Meetings & Timeline
Rulemaking Activity for Wildfire Smoke
Action Item Date
Filed CR-105 Expedited Rulemaking to update AQI references​ May 21, 2024
Permanent rule effective. January 15, 2024
Filed CR-103P Permanent Rulemaking December 14, 2023
Filed CR-102 Proposed Rulemaking. May 10, 2023
Filed CR-103 Emergency Rule-making Order. June 1, 2022 (Expired September 29, 2022)
Filed CR-103 Emergency Rule-making Order  July 16, 2021 (Expired November 13, 2021)
Filed CR-101 Pre-proposal Statement of Inquiry  October 20, 2020

Previous meetings 

Open the links to see notes and information from the meeting. 

Public hearing materials

Stakeholder Meetings

Rule Drafts & Documents

Expedited Rulemaking

Filed May 21, 2024 to update AQI references, and effective July 22, 2024.

Adopted permanent rule documents

Filed December 14, 2023 and effective January 15, 2024.

Proposed permanent rule documents

Filed May 10, 2023; comments were due by 5:00 p.m. on August 4, 2023.

Emergency rule - 2022

Emergency rule - 2021

Stakeholder drafts

Draft Rule, October 2022

Wildfire Smoke Rule Draft June 15, 2021

Wildfire Smoke Rule Draft - Spanish

The Preproposal (CR-101) was filed October 20, 2020. 

Stakeholder Feedback

Adopted permanent rule feedback response

September 2022 draft rule language - Stakeholder feedback

August 2022 Draft Rule Language - Stakeholder Feedback

Additional Resources

Some of the key resources that were considered during the development of draft rule.

  • Delfino et al. (2009). The relationship of respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions to the southern California wildfires of 2003. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 66(3), 189-197.
  • Doubleday et al. (2020). Mortality associated with wildfire smoke exposure in Washington state, 2006-2017: a case-crossover study. Environmental Health 19(1).
  • Gan et al. (2017). Comparison of wildfire smoke estimation methods and associations with cardiopulmonary related hospital admissions. GeoHealth 1(3), 122-136.
  • Haikerwal et al. (2015). Impact of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) exposure during wildfires on cardiovascular health outcomes. Journal of the American Heart Association 4(7).
  • Liu et al. (2019). Ambient particulate air pollution and daily mortality in 652 cities. New England Journal of Medicine 381(8), 705-715.
  • Orellano et al. (2020). Short-term exposure to particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3) and all-cause and cause-specific mortality: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Environment International. 142.
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (2019). Integrated Science Assessment for Particulate Matter. Office of Research and Development.
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (2020). Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter

Staff Contacts:

For rulemaking questions, please contact:
Cindy Ireland Cynthia.Ireland@Lni.wa.gov or 360-791-5048.

For Technical questions, please contact:
Chris Pyke Christopher.Pyke@Lni.wa.gov  or 360-951-3489
Dr. Nicholas Reul Nicholas.Reul@Lni.wa.gov  or 360-902-5963

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