Oregon Smoke Information

Map Notes:


The map above is not able to show all state air quality monitors. To see the whole set, go to the left column, under Hot Links
and click on DEQ Air Quality map which will bring up a map with many additional state monitors.


Monday, August 3, 2015

An Urgent Public Health Activity Report Within Jackson County

From Jackson County Health and Human Services.  Flash Report - August 3, 2015 - An Urgent Public Health Activity Report Within Jackson County.  

Watch for Unhealthy and Hazardous Smoke Levels In Jackson County

Jackson County health officials and DEQ urge people to watch for unhealthy smoke levels. It is important for people to be observant of the air quality during the wildfire season, smoke levels can rise and fall depending on weather factors including wind direction.

During a wildfire smoke event, Jackson County health officials and DEQ advise residents to take the following precautions: 
  • Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with highest concentrations. 
  • Avoid smoke either by leaving the area or protecting yourself by staying indoors, and by closing windows and doors 
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions. 
  • People exposed to smoky conditions and who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers. 
Check DEQ’s Air Quality Index to see real-time air monitoring data from monitors placed around Oregon: http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx. Keep in mind that monitoring locations are limited and pollution levels may be higher in some areas, especially those closer to a wildfire. 

Conduct a visual assessment: People can conduct a visual assessment of nearby smoke to quickly get a sense of air quality levels. Generally, if you can see up to 15 miles, the air quality is probably good. If you can see less than one mile, the air quality is very unhealthy and everyone should avoid outdoor activities. Refer to the descriptions below for more information based on how far you can see in various conditions:
  • Between 5-15 miles: Air quality is moderate and beginning to deteriorate, and is generally healthy, except possibly for smoke sensitive persons. The general public should avoid prolonged exposure if conditions are smoky to the point where visibility is closer to the 5 mile range. 
  • If under 5 miles: The air quality is unhealthy for young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness. These people should minimize outdoor activity. 
  • If under 3 miles: The air quality is unhealthy for everyone. Young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness should avoid all outdoor activities. 
  • If under 1 mile: The air quality is very unhealthy, and in some cases may be hazardous. Everyone should avoid all outdoor activities. 
Wildfire Smoke The content in wildfire smoke varies depending on the type of vegetation that is burning, the moisture level, fire temperature, wind and other weather related factors, and the stage of burning. Depending on these variables, wildfire smoke comprises a complex mixture of particulate matter, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapor, hydrocarbons and other organic chemicals, and various trace minerals. For the general public, the principal pollutant of concern from wildfire smoke is “particulate matter” — by which is meant the mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets that is suspended in the air. 
Health Effects  Health effects of particulate matter (PM) are related to the particulate size. Airborne particles of diameter ≤10 μm (PM10) usually irritate only the eyes, nose, and throat. Particulates from wildfire smoke tend to be of diameter <2.5 μm (PM2.5), so they can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, causing more substantial health problems, especially for those with preexisting health conditions. The duration and concentration of smoke exposure, along with patient age and degree of sensitivity, play an important role in determining whether or not someone will suffer smoke-related health problems.

Even in healthy individuals, wildfire smoke can cause: • eye irritation and dryness; • persistent cough, phlegm, wheezing, scratchy throat, irritated sinus, headache; • shortness of breath; and • pulmonary inflammation. 

Exposure to wildfire smoke can affect more seriously those with preexisting respiratory conditions such as respiratory allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In addition to the above symptoms, such persons may experience: • fatigue; • chest pain or discomfort; • exacerbation of their respiratory conditions; and • reductions in lung function.

Other health-related concerns — e.g., carbon monoxide poisoning or increased risk of cancer —are sometimes surfaced by members of the general public. In general, the long-term risks from short-term smoke exposures are thought to be low. Urban fire fighters exposed to smoke over an entire working lifetime have about a three-fold increased risk of lung cancer. Persons with cardiovascular disease who are exposed to wildfire smoke may experience chest pain and cardiac arrhythmias with relatively low levels of carbon monoxide. 

Sensitive Populations Certain population groups may be more sensitive to wildfire smoke exposure. These individuals may suffer more severe short-term and chronic effects. Groups that are more sensitive to wildfire smoke exposure include: • Persons with asthma or other respiratory disease* • Persons with cardiovascular disease • Persons ≥65 years of age • Children, even those without any pre-existing health illness • Smokers, especially those who have smoked for several years 

Reducing Exposure The safest thing to do is to avoid exposure to the wildfire smoke if possible. Those who are sensitive to smoke should evacuate the smoky area. For those who cannot evacuate the smoky area, strategies to decrease exposure to smoke include: staying indoors whenever possible; using air conditioners on recirculation in homes and when driving in a vehicle; using mechanical air cleaners; and minimizing other sources of exposure to airborne particulate matter — such as smoking tobacco, use of woodburning stoves, burning candles and vacuuming. 

Mask or No Mask During and after a wildfire, you will commonly see masked people around the community. You might want to know the following about masks: (1) the types of masks that are available; (2) the level of protection afforded by each type of mask; and, (3) what to tell your patients about masks. 

Wet bandanas covering the mouth, surgical masks, dust masks, and N95 respirators offer differing levels of protection from wildfire smoke. A wet bandana, and surgical and dust masks can reduce exposure to large particles from wildfire smoke, but their capacity to filter PM2.5 is limited; for these reasons, they provide little protection, especially for those who are most sensitive to wildfire smoke. 

N95 respirators are made from filtering material certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to remove 95% of fine particulates, but only if the respirator fits properly. The fit is all-important: if the mask doesn’t fit properly, air with all its particulate matter gets in around the sides of the mask and is inhaled by the hapless wearer, perhaps worse off for the false sense of protection. Those who are erroneously confident in the protective power of their masks may well spend more time outdoors, thereby increasing their exposure to smoke. To ensure that an N95 mask fits correctly, an individual must be “fit tested” — something not typically offered along with an N95 respirator at the local hardware store.  

Even healthy adults may find that the increased effort required for breathing makes wearing an N95 mask difficult and uncomfortable. Wearing a properly fitting mask necessarily increases resistance to air flow, thereby increasing the work of breathing and often the heart rate. Therefore, breathing through an N95 mask for a long period of time poses a theoretical risk for those with preexisting cardiovascular or lung disease; such persons should attempt to wear an N95 mask only under the supervision of a clinician.  

Be prepared to inform inquisitive patients about the different types of masks, the levels of protection that they provide, and the pros and the cons of each.

The mission of Jackson County Health and Human Services is to plan, coordinate and provide public services that protect and promote the health and well-being of county residents.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hazardous Air Quality in Klamath Falls

August 2, 2015, 7:44 am.

As of 7:30 this morning, air quality had worsened over much of southwestern and south central Oregon, as depicted in this figure of the color coded 24-hour average AQI.  As expected, air quality remained unhealthy to very unhealthy in Medford and Shady Cove.   Provolt moved into the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category. Grants Pass and Cave Junction remained only in the moderate range.  However, Klamath Falls moved into the HAZARDOUS category and even as far away as Lakeview moved into the moderate category.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

For current Douglas County wildfire information

Two links have been added to the Smoke Blog under "Hot Links" on the left margin.  Both can provide additional information on the Cable Crossing and Stouts wildfires.

Air Quality Deteriorates over Southwestern Oregon

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Smoke from the Cable Crossing and Stouts fire in Southwestern Oregon are creating lots of smoke over Southwestern Oregon today, as can be seen in this satellite image taken late this morning.
Air quality is in the VERY UNHEALTHY levels in Medford and UNHEALTHY levels in Shady Cove.  Grants Pass, Provolt, and Cave Junction are all in the moderate range.  The rest of the State is experiencing good air quality.  This evening, smoke is likely to concentrate in areas down valley from the fires.   Please take appropriate precautions.




The following three figures illustrate the predicted 24-hour average concentration and spread of smoke for today (Saturday August 1), Sunday (August 2) and Monday (August 3), assuming no additional fire spread and no new starts (not a great assumption, but models have limits).  The results should be interpreted on a relative scale such that dark red represents higher smoke concentrations than pink areas   Notice on Sunday, light smoke is expected to spread east and is likely to reach Klamath Falls.  Also  other parts of Oregon may experience light smoke and/or haze along the coast and near Pendelton.  On Monday, smoke is retracting back to areas near the fires in Southwestern portions of the State.






Friday, July 31, 2015

CONTACTS:

Jackson Baures, Public Health Division Manager, 541-774-8039

Meghan Fagundes, Oregon DEQ Air Quality Natural Resource Specialist, 541-776-6089

Date of release: July 31, 2015 / 3:00 pm

Watch for Unhealthy Smoke Levels

Jackson County health officials and DEQ urge people to watch for unhealthy smoke levels. It is important for people to be observant of the air quality during the wildfire season, smoke levels can rise and fall depending on weather factors including wind direction.

During a wildfire smoke event, Jackson County health officials and DEQ advise residents to take the following precautions:

 Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with highest concentrations.

 Avoid smoke either by leaving the area or protecting yourself by staying indoors, and by closing windows and doors

 Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions.

 People exposed to smoky conditions and who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers.

 

Check DEQ's Air Quality Index to see real-time air monitoring data from monitors placed around Oregon: http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx

Keep in mind that monitoring locations are limited and pollution levels may be higher in some areas, especially those closer to a wildfire.

Conduct a visual assessment: People can conduct a visual assessment of nearby smoke to quickly get a sense of air quality levels. Generally, if you can see up to 15 miles, the air quality is probably good. If you can see less than one mile, the air quality is very unhealthy and everyone should avoid outdoor activities. Refer to the descriptions below for more information based on how far you can see in various conditions:

 

Between 5-15 miles: Air quality is moderate and beginning to deteriorate, and is generally healthy, except possibly for smoke sensitive persons. The general public should avoid prolonged exposure if conditions are smoky to the point where visibility is closer to the 5 mile range.

If under 5 miles: The air quality is unhealthy for young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness. These people should minimize outdoor activity.

If under 3 miles: The air quality is unhealthy for everyone. Young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness should avoid all outdoor activities.

If under 1 mile: The air quality is very unhealthy, and in some cases may be hazardous. Everyone should avoid all outdoor activities.

For more information on using the visibility index during wildfires, visit www.deq.state.or.us/aq/burning/wildfires/visibility.htm

For information on smoke and wildfires in Oregon, visit http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

For information on smoke and wildfires in California, visit http://californiasmokeinfo.blogspot.com/

For more information about wildfires and health threats from wildfire smoke, go to http://public.health.oregon.gov/Preparedness/Prepare/Pages/PrepareForWildfire.aspx

Thursday, July 30, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
CONTACT: Dawnelle Marshall                                            
Douglas County Health Department                           Douglas County, Oregon
 
                 High Temperatures and Smoky Air Could Cause Health Problems
 
Douglas County public health officials urge people across the State to take precautions as temperatures and air quality reach potentially unhealthy levels.
 
The National Weather Service is predicting weather that could bring prolonged wildfire smoke exposure to communities in central Douglas County. Smoke levels can rise or fall depending on weather factors including wind direction.
 
“The combination of high temperatures and wildfire smoke in the area may increase the risk of illness, especially for older adults, young children, and people with asthma, respiratory, or heart conditions,” said Dawnelle Marshall, Public Health administrator.
 
Public health officials urge all Oregonians to take the following precautions to avoid health problems during hot, smoky conditions.
 
· Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area. Residents can get the latest information by visiting the Oregon Smoke blog: Oregonsmoke.blogspot.com or call 2-1-1 Info.    
 
· Avoid outdoor activities when air quality is unhealthy and hazardous.  Those with heart or lung problems, as well as young children, are especially vulnerable.
 
· Avoid smoke either by leaving the area or protecting yourself by staying indoors, closing all windows and doors.
 
· Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution such as burning cigarettes and candles; using gas, propane, and wood burning stoves and furnaces; cooking; and vacuuming.
 
· Individuals with heart disease or lung diseases such as asthma should follow their health care providers’ advice about prevention and treatment of symptoms.
 
· If you are highly sensitive to the smoke you may consider leaving the area until the air quality improves.
 
 Most of the people in Douglas County live in areas that do not have air quality monitors.  Using the information below may help you determine what actions you can take to minimize health effects.

Estimating visibility using the 5-3-1 Index
Determine the limit of your visual range by looking for distant targets or familiar landmarks such as mountains, mesas, hills, or buildings at known distances (miles). The visual range is that point at which these targets are no longer visible.
Ideally, the viewing of any distance targets should be made with the sun behind you. Looking into the sun or at an angle increases the ability of sunlight to reflect off of the smoke, and thus making the visibility estimate less reliable.
Once distance has been determined, follow this simple guide:
If over 15 miles
Air quality is generally good.
Between 5-15 miles
Air quality is moderate and beginning to deteriorate, and is generally healthy, except possibly for smoke sensitive persons. The general public should avoid prolonged exposure if conditions are smoky to the point where visibility is closer to the 5 mile range.
If under 5 miles
Air quality is unhealthy for young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness. These people should minimize outdoor activity.
If under 3 miles
Air quality is unhealthy for everyone. Young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness should avoid all outdoor activities.
If under 1 mile
Air quality is very unhealthy, and in some cases may be hazardous. Everyone should avoid all outdoor activities.
Using the 5-3-1 Visibility Index
Distance you can see*
You are:
 
You have:
·  An adult
·  A teenager
·  An older child
·  Age 65 and over
·  Pregnant
·  A young child
OR
·  Asthma
·  Respiratory illness
·  Lung or heart disease
5 miles
check visibility
minimize outdoor activity
3 miles
minimize outdoor activity
stay inside
1 mile
stay inside
stay inside

No matter how far you can see, if you feel like you are having health effects from smoke exposure, take extra care to stay inside or get to an area with better air quality.  You should also see your doctor or other health professional as needed.
* less reliable under high humidity conditions
 
 For more information:
Oregon Smoke blog, for the latest on wildfire smoke and air quality across the state
 

Cable Crossing Fire near Glide and Roseburg - update

Please check back for another update regarding this fire later today. For now, here is a link to the Douglas Forest Protective Association's facebook page with current information on the fire, which will be handled by the OR Department of Forestry as of 10 this morning:

https://www.facebook.com/DouglasForestProtectiveAssociation