Health and Human Services
Public Health Division
1005 E. Main St.
Medford, OR 97504
Phone: (541) 774-8206
Fax: (541) 774-7987
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Tanya Phillips, Health Promotion Manager, 541-770-7708
Medford, OR - Sept 19, 2014, 3:00 pm - Jackson County health officials want to remind residents that 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.
It is predicted, with our current weather system, the smoke will be clearing out of valley and will remain clear for the next few days. Though with the wildfires that are still currently active and changing weather and wind forecast, our air quality may fluctuate.
During a wildfire smoke event, Jackson County health officials 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 in 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 schools, day care facilities and sporting events, use the Public Health Guidance for School Outdoor Activities During Wildfire Events, http://public.health.oregon.gov/Preparedness/Prepare/Documents/2014Public_Health_Guidance_for_Outdoor_School_Activities.pdf
- 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