11-13-2019  5:02 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
Smoky air
The Skanner
Published: 20 August 2018

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Southwest Clean Air Agency, as well as the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, issued an air quality advisory Sunday for portions of Western Washington, as well as Portland, the Oregon North Coast and much of the Willamette Valley.

After a brief improvement in air quality over the weekend, conditions worsened Sunday night and smoke is expected last through Wednesday.

In Oregon, the advisory covers the following counties; Benton, Clatsop, Clackamas, Columbia, Hood River, Linn, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington, Yamhill. Lane County is not currently under the advisory, but conditions there could worsen in the next few days depending on weather and wildfire conditions.

Wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Coughing
  • Stinging eyes
  • Irritated sinuses
  • Headaches
  • Asthma attack
  • Chest pain
  • Fast heartbeat

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency advised that members of the public take precautions, especially children, older adults, and people that are pregnant, have heart or lung issues (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD), or that have had a stroke:

  • Stay indoors when possible.
  • Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, and sports.
  • Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use the “recirculation” switch. Use an indoor air filter if available.
  • If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a public library or a community center.
  • Avoid driving when possible. If you must drive, keep the windows closed. If you use the car’s fan or air conditioning, make sure the system recirculates air from inside the car; don’t pull air from outside.
  • Schools, camps, sports teams, and daycare providers should consider postponing outdoor activities or moving them indoors.
  • N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution. These masks are usually available at hardware and home repair stores. Please check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you. More information here.
  • For more information on ways to reduce your exposure, see the Washington Department of Health’s Smoke From Fire tips.

As always, check with your health care provider for more specific questions and concerns.

Oregon residents can view current air quality conditions at DEQ’s Air Quality Index https://oraqi.deq.state.or.us/home/map The index is also available on smart phones. Simply search for OregonAir in your app store.

The Oregon Smoke Blog also has an air quality map that includes temporary monitors close to specific fires, daily smoke forecasts for specific areas, and other resources. Visit the Oregon Smoke Blog for more information: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

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