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. Round icons represent permanent state air quality monitors, triangular icons represent temporary smoke monitors (when deployed).


Friday, August 11, 2017

Gauging Visibility is As Easy as 5-3-1



Remote areas, where many wildfires occur, don’t always have air quality monitors. One way to gauge smoke levels when monitoring data isn’t available is by using the 5-3-1 visibility index.

Here’s a rundown from the Oregon Department of EnvironmentalQuality on how to use the index:

Determine the limit of your visual range by looking for distant targets or familiar landmarks such as mountains, or buildings at known distances (miles). The visual range is that point at which these targets are no longer visible. As a general rule of thumb: if you can clearly see the outlines of individual trees on the horizon it is generally less than five miles away.

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:
  •         Even if visibility is five miles away but generally hazy, 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 five 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 three 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. These people should minimize outdoor activity.
  •         If under one mile, the air quality is unhealthy for everyone.  Everyone should avoid all outdoor activities.
  •         If visibility is well over five miles, the air quality is generally good.

While this method can be a useful tool, persons should always use caution and avoid going outside if visibility is limited, especially persons who may be sensitive to smoke. Learn more from DEQ about wildfires and air quality

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