Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Release Date: September 15, 2014
Greg Svelund, DEQ, 541-633-2008
Air quality in Portland, Salem and parts of Willamette Valley unhealthy due to wildfire smoke
Impacted areas include Portland, Salem, Tigard, Albany, Corvallis and others; residents should take precautions as air quality is expected to remain poor over the next 48 hours
People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children, are advised to stay indoors. Poor air quality conditions are a health threat and should be avoided by all residents in smoky communities.
Remember, local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly depending on weather factors, including wind direction.
During wildfire smoke events, DEQ urges residents to take the following precautions:
What if your community doesn’t have an air quality monitor? 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.
Visit the Oregon Health Authority’s wildfire web page.