Air quality advisory for Southern, Central, Eastern Oregon

By on Monday, August 24th, 2020 in Eastern/Southeast Oregon News Regional News

Statewide, Ore.—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality extended an air quality advisory for parts of Southern, Central and Eastern Oregon due to smoke from wildfires in Oregon and Northern California.

DEQ expects the air quality advisory to last until at least Wednesday nightDEQ and partner agencies will continue to monitor smoke in these areas.

The following areas are affected:

  • Klamath County
  • Lake County
  • Jackson County (intermittent smoke)
  • Deschutes County
  • Jefferson County
  • Warm Springs Reservation
  • Malheur County
  • Harney County
  • Baker County (intermittent smoke)

Smoke levels can change rapidly depending on weather. Check current conditions on DEQ’s Air Quality Index or by downloading the free OregonAIR app on your smartphone.

Smoke can irritate people’s eyes and lungs and worsen some medical conditions. Young children, adults over 65, pregnant women, and people with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions are most at risk.

Protect your health when smoke levels are high:

  • Stay inside if possible. Keep windows and doors closed.
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity.
  • Be aware of smoke in your area and avoid places with the highest levels.
  • Use high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These can be portable filters or can be installed in indoor heating, ventilation, cooling and air purification systems.
  • If you have heart or lung disease or asthma, follow your healthcare provider’s advice.

Cloth, dust and surgical masks don’t protect from the harmful particles in smoke. N95 masks that are tested to ensure proper fit and that are worn correctly may provide protection. Otherwise, they might just provide a false sense of security. They are not recommended for strenuous activities and are in limited supply due to COVID-19. Additional information on wildfire smoke and COVID-19 can be found on the Center for Disease Control webpage.

DEQ’s color-coded Air Quality Index provides current air quality conditions and ranks air quality as follows: Green is good. Yellow is moderate. Orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups such as children, seniors, pregnant women and those with respiratory conditions. Red is unhealthy for everyone. Purple is very unhealthy for all groups. Maroon is hazardous.