Oregon Smoke Information

Map Notes:

The map above shows active fires and air quality monitors around the state. Round icons represent permanent air quality monitors, triangular icons represent temporary smoke monitors (when deployed).

Monday, July 29, 2019

DEQ extends air quality advisory for Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Douglas counties


Canyonville, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is extending an air quality advisory for Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties, and including southern Douglas County, due to smoke that continues to blow south from the Milepost 97 Fire near Canyonville. The advisory will be in place for at least the next several days, possibly longer. DEQ and partner agencies are reassessing conditions every few days.

There is expected to be consistent smoke in the moderate to unhealthy range in these areas. People who are sensitive to smoke should consider leaving the area until conditions improve. A temporary air quality monitor will be set up in Glendale to provide a clearer understanding of conditions in southern Douglas County.

Curry County is no longer under advisory, but Curry and Lake counties may continue to experience intermittent smoke over the next several days. DEQ will continue to monitor smoke in these areas.

Smoke conditions can change rapidly near wildfires, check current air quality conditions and advisories on DEQ's website or by downloading the OregonAir app on a smartphone.

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

People can take the following precautions to protect their health during periods of severe smoke:
  • Stay inside if possible and avoid strenuous outdoor activity.
  • Be aware of smoke in your area and avoid places with highest concentrations.
  • If you have asthma or heart or lung disease, follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
  • Use certified HEPA filters in indoor heating, ventilation, cooling and air purification systems. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air filters.
  • Check for cleaner air shelters in your area on the Oregon Smoke Blog.
Resources:
Contact:
DEQ: Laura Gleim, Public Affairs Specialist, (541) 633-2030, gleim.laura@deq.state.or.us

Jackson County: Tanya Phillips, Jackson County Public Health, (541) 770-7708, PhilliTF@jacksoncounty.org

Klamath County: Valeree Lane, Klamath County Public Health, (541) 851-3737, vlane@klamathcounty.org 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Smoke Update for Southwestern Oregon


Sunday July 28, 2019 9:00 am
The Fire:  
The Mile Post 97 Fire, located about 1 mile southeast of Canyonville was reported on Wednesday, July 24th at approximately 10:00 pm.  The fire is burning in timber, in steep, rocky terrain with limited access.   As of Sunday morning, the fire has burned 11,000 acres with 5% containment, and has spotted over to the east side of I-5.    Structures are threatened and level 2 “Get Set” evacuations are in progress for all residences on the west side of the freeway between mileposts 88-83.  The fire is being managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry is human caused.  There will be a community meeting at 7 pm tonight at Glendale High School.  

Weather: Currently, an upper level trough of low pressure is present in the Gulf of Alaska with a ridge of high pressure over southern California and Arizona.  This is creating zonal flow (westerlies) over southwestern Oregon at the upper levels.  At the surface, winds are from the north and light overnight, shifting to northerly to northwesterly with increasing speed during the day.  Nocturnal drainage flows are expected overnight under the evening temperature inversion.

Over the next 24 hours, the trough of low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska will start to dig south and the ridge of high pressure will push north into the Great Basin.  As a result, upper level winds over southwestern Oregon will begin to shift from westerly to southwesterly flow.   At the surface, winds will continue to be from the north, with shifts slightly towards to the southeast during the day and towards the southwest overnight.

Smoke (last 48 hours):

Grants Pass:  Smoke has been fluctuating diurnally with peak concentrations during the day time reaching 200 ug/m3 (very unhealthy) and clearing out overnight.

Medford/Ashland:  Highest concentrations of smoke have been overnight reaching very unhealthy levels overnight and moderate concentrations during the day.  



Klamath Falls: Smoke has been worse during the overnight hours, reaching the unhealthy levels occasionally.  During the day, smoke has been remained mostly in the moderate levels.  
Cave Junction:  Smoke has reached the unhealthy level during the day, with some improvement to the moderate level over night night. 

Coastal Communities (Brookings and Gold Beach).   No monitors are available so the following is based upon what is observed in the smoke models.  Even with the easterly push of smoke overnight, Brookings and Gold Beach appear to be clear of smoke.   However, just a bit south, Crescent City has experienced smoke. 

Smoke Forecast:   
Expect much of the same pattern to continue today with smoke pushing south of the fire during the day, and south-southwest during the late afternoon, shifting back to the south and southeast overnight.   Also some  lighter smoke is expected east of the fire affecting the communities of Tiller and Crater Lake National Park. This pattern is expected to continue for the next few days.  As such, the diurnal patterns of smoke we’ve seen the last few days are likely to continue. 

Miscellaneous:
An Air Resource Advisor has been ordered and is expected to arrive on scene Monday morning.  This individual will be able to provide more detailed smoke forecasts and additional smoke monitoring once on scene.  

Disclaimer:  Smoke forecasts are subject to change as they are based upon forecasts of fire behavior and weather.  

Forecast prepared by Rick Graw, USDA Forest Service.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28: Air quality advisory is still in effect for Curry, Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality advisory on Friday for much of southwest Oregon due to smoke from a wildfire in southern Douglas County, approximately one mile southeast of Canyonville.
 
Curry, Jackson, Josephine and Klamath Counties are affected. This air advisory is in place through the weekend until Monday, July 29, 2019. On Monday morning, DEQ will evaluate whether to extend the advisory and in which locations.
 
Smoke conditions can change rapidly near wildfires, check current air quality conditions and advisories on DEQ’s website or by downloading the OregonAir app on a smartphone.
 
Resources:

Contacts:

Curry County: Sherrie Ward, Curry County Public Health, (541) 373-8016, wards@currych.org

Jackson County: Tanya Phillips, Jackson County Public Health, (541) 770-7708, PhilliTF@jacksoncounty.org

Josephine County: Mike Weber, Public Health Director, (541) 474-5339, mweber@co.josephine.or.us

Klamath County: Ramona Quinn, Klamath County Public Health, (541) 892-9153, rquinn@co.klamath.or.us; OR
Jim Carey, Klamath County Public Health, (541) 882-8846, jcarey@co.klamath.or.us

Friday, July 26, 2019

Smoke and weather forecast for Friday and the weekend

  1.  Current satellite picture shows smoke smeared throughout SW Oregon, especially affecting the Rogue Valley.
  2.  Upper level trough will move toward the state today and initiate a modest marine push. This will push smoke more eastward and should give some relief to Grants Pass but not much to Medford and Ashland.
  3.  The marine push may push smoke into Klamath Falls this evening.
  4.  The weather pattern changes little over the weekend into early next week. Wind flow will be mostly NW’erly during the afternoon, turning northerly overnight. This will provide little relief for the Medford/Ashland area but allow for some afternoon clearing in Grants Pass. Klamath Falls and possibly Lakeview could see late afternoon to evening intrusions of smoke with reduced smoke during the morning to early afternoon hours.
  5.  Overall weather pattern with remain very warm and dry with thunderstorms unlikely.

Source: Nick Yonker, Smoke Management Program Manager, Oregon Department of Forestry

News Release: DEQ issues air quality advisory for Curry, Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties


The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air quality advisory for much of southwest Oregon due to smoke from a wildfire in southern Douglas County, approximately one mile southeast of Canyonville.

Curry, Jackson, Josephine and Klamath Counties are affected. This air advisory is in place through the weekend until Monday, July 29, 2019. On Monday morning, DEQ will evaluate whether to extend the advisory and in which locations.

Smoke conditions can change rapidly near wildfires, check current air quality conditions and advisories on DEQ’s website or by downloading the OregonAir app on a smartphone.

On Friday afternoon, air quality monitors measuring particulate matter, a core component of wildfire smoke, along Interstate 5 in Grants Pass, Medford, Talent and Ashland are reading red or unhealthy for everyone. Monitors in Provolt along Highway 238 and Cave Junction along Highway 199 are also reading red. DEQ and partner agencies will be monitoring weather and air quality conditions over the weekend and providing updates on Monday.

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

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

People can take the following precautions to protect their health during periods of severe smoke:
  • Stay inside if possible and avoid strenuous outdoor activity.
  • Be aware of smoke in your area and avoid places with highest concentrations.
  • If you have asthma or heart or lung disease, follow your health provider's advice.
  • Use certified HEPA filters in indoor heating, ventilation, cooling and air purification systems. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air filters.
  • Check for cleaner air shelters in your area on the Oregon Smoke Blog.
Resources:
Contacts:

Curry County: Sherrie Ward, Curry County Public Health, (541) 373-8016, wards@currych.org

Jackson County: Tanya Phillips, Jackson County Public Health, (541) 770-7708, PhilliTF@jacksoncounty.org

Josephine County: Mike Weber, Public Health Director, (541) 474-5339, mweber@co.josephine.or.us

Klamath County: Ramona Quinn, Klamath County Public Health, (541) 892-9153, rquinn@co.klamath.or.us; OR
Jim Carey, Klamath County Public Health, (541) 882-8846, jcarey@co.klamath.or.us

Monday, July 8, 2019

DEQ's wildfire trends report shows more unhealthy air quality days for longer stretches


Anyone who’s lived in Oregon for more than a few years, knows wildfire smoke has gotten worse in recent summers. But just how much worse may be surprising.

A new report on wildfire smoke trends from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality  -- “Wildfire Smoke Trends and Associated Health Risks: Bend, Klamath Falls, Medford and Portland - 1985 to 2018” -- shows that as wildfires grow in size and frequency, so do the amount of days where air quality is “unhealthy for sensitive groups” or worse. There are also more unhealthy, very unhealthy and hazardous days than in the past. That means air quality is unhealthy – or worse – for everyone, not just those in sensitive groups like pregnant women, children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions.

Not surprisingly, the most significant impacts from fires are in Southern Oregon.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

·     Between 1987 and 2014, Bend had five unhealthy days. From 2015 to 2018, Bend has had 13 unhealthy days. In 2017, Bend had three “very unhealthy” days for the first time since monitoring started in 1987.
·     Klamath Falls had 22 “unhealthy” days before 2015 and had 35 “unhealthy” days between 2015 and 2018. Klamath Falls had two “very unhealthy” days before 2015 and four between 2015 and 2018.
·     Medford had 18 “unhealthy” days between 1985 and 2014 and had 38 between 2015 and 2018. Medford had nine “very unhealthy” days between 1985 and 2014, mostly in 1987. From 2015 to 2018 Medford had seven. Medford had one “hazardous” day in 1987 and did not have another one until 2017.
·     Portland had no “unhealthy” days between 1985 and 2014 and had five from 2015 to 2018.

Read the full report.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Firework displays can light up sky and AQI

If you take a look at the Air Quality Index on Thursday evening or in the wee hours of Friday morning, you might wonder – where’s the fire? Chances are that monitors that were green (or good) just hours before may be orange or red. An orange reading reflects air quality that’s unhealthy for sensitive groups or worse, while red means unhealthy for everyone. (Learn more about the color-coded AQI and steps you can take to safeguard your health.)

We’re knocking on wood and crossing our fingers here, but the most likely culprit won’t be a wildfire but fireworks. All those bright lights can kick up some serious particulate matter and send those monitors from green to red or higher.

If you’re out and about and want to check air quality, download the OregonAIR app on your phone.
Now’s also a great time to brush up on how wildfire smoke can affect your health. Check out the smoke and health tab above for more resources. People with asthma should have an asthma action plan to better control and prevent asthma attacks.

Remember, fireworks don’t just kick up a lot of smoke they can also be a fire hazard. The Office of State Fire Marshal encourages Oregonians to “keep it legal and keep it safe” when using fireworks. Learn more.

Photo credit: Zuza Galcznska