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, September 15, 2017

DEQ issues air quality advisory for Hood River and Wasco counties


DEQ issues air quality advisory for Hood River and Wasco counties

Conditions unhealthy in parts of The Gorge, including The Dalles and Hood River

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is urging residents in Hood River and Wasco counties to health precautions from smoke caused by wildfires.

The Eagle Creek Fire is bringing unhealthy levels of smoke into parts of The Gorge, including the communities of Hood River and The Dalles. These conditions are expected to last through the weekend and possibly into next week.

People can take the following precautions:  

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

·       Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions.

·       If you have heart disease, asthma or other respiratory ailments, or are over 65, you have a higher risk of illness from wildfire smoke. Small children and pregnant women are also at increased risk. People in any of these groups might consider leaving the area until air quality improves.

·       People suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers.

Remember, local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly, depending on weather factors including wind direction.

Visit the Oregon Smoke Blog for more information: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

Oregon State-Wide Smoke Forecast for the Weekend of September 16-17, 2017

Oregon Smoke Forecast for the Saturday-Sunday, September 16-17, 2017
Forecast Issued:  Friday September 15, 2017
Forecaster:  R. Graw, USDA Forest Service

A low pressure system approaching the state will bring east winds on Saturday and  southwesterly winds and rain on Sunday.  This will be followed by a series of bands that will continue to bring precipitation throughout next week.  These events will be a significant slowing event for the fires.   In fact, we may even see snow above 5000 feet in elevation next week.   While this is good news, we have one more day of a smoke for the west side of the state.

Saturday: September 16, 2017

The approaching low pressure system will bring the return of east winds over the fires, bringing smoke into areas east of the fires across the state.  Figure 1 illustrates the spatial pattern and relative concentrations of smoke for Saturday.  On the west side of the state, the Willamette Valley, Roseburg, and the Rogue Valley will all see some smoke.  The greatest impacts will be in the western foothills of the Cascades and along the river valleys where drainage flows bring smoke down from the fires.  Portland may see concentrations in the "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" and Eugene may see concentrations in the "Unhealthy for all Groups".   Communities along the Santiam River from Detroit to Lyons will also see unhealthy concentrations of smoke, but as the smoke moves into Salem, the smoke tends to spread and dilute as it disperses, thus impacts in Salem will likely only be moderate.   Smoke will start to clear out of the the Willamette Valley during the evening but may take until Sunday to fully clear out.

In southwestern Oregon, the Rogue Valley, Illinois Valley are expected to reach moderate conditions.
The coastal communities of Gold Beach and Brookings should expected to see light to moderate smoke in the morning but should clear out in the afternoon as winds shift to the east.   Smoke is expected to remain over the rest of southwestern Oregon until Sunday.

Central Oregon will have variable conditions depending upon one's particularly location downwind of the fires  Wind direction is expected to change throughout the day bringing changing concentrations of smoke.  The Desolation fire located off of Hwy 26 on the Ochoco National Forecst is likely to bring smoke into Prineville, Redmond and Bend at times throughout the day.  Overnight drainage flows are still likely to bring smoke into Sisters overnight and in the morning, but should clear out by mid to late morning when the inversion breaks.  Klamath Falls and Lakeview should have good air quality on Saturday.  Eastern Oregon will also have good air quality, although some light smoke may be present at times as the fires in Idaho will still be generating smoke..

Figure 1.  24-hour Smoke Concentrations Forecasted for the Period Ending at 5 pm on Saturday, September 16, 2017 

Sunday, September 18, 2017:

A significant change in weather will occur on Sunday as southwesterly winds occur over the state accompanied by precipitation.   Rain is expected to move into the State in the mid to later afternoon.   By Monday morning, the Cascades may receive up to an inch of rain, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2.  24-hour Precipitation Excepted for the Period Ending at 5 am Monday Morning. 

Smoke will clear out of the west side of the cascades on Sunday morning.  As illustrated in Figure 3, by Sunday afternoon, the smoke will drift to the northeast of the fires and bring moderate levels of smoke to southwestern and central, Oregon, light smoke to eastern Oregon, and heavy smoke to Hood River and the Dalles.  However, with the increasing winds speeds and the increasing change of precipitation, most of the smoke is expected to scour out of the State by Sunday evening and remain scoured out on Monday and Tuesday.

Figure 3.  24-hour Average Smoke Concentrations for the period ending at 5 pm on Sunday.

All in all, air quality should be greatly improved next week as the storms will remain with us for several days.

Please see the Air Resource Advisor forecasts for more detailed forecast for areas in the vicinity of the fires.

Disclaimer:  Forecasting of weather, fire behavior, and smoke transport and dispersion is challenging. While we strive to bring you the most up to date and accurate forecasts, conditions can and do change rapidly. Please take the appropriate action to protect yourself.

News Release: Wildfire smoke back, air quality alert issued for Lane County

Drainage flows from the east have brought the wildfire smoke back into Lane County overnight. Air quality monitors in Eugene are seeing spikes into the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” levels Friday morning. The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency is issuing an air quality advisory from Friday 9 a.m. until Sunday 6 p.m.

Wildfire smoke is more prominent this time of year, and the high temperatures have elevated fire danger around the state.

“Residents who are sensitive to smoke are advised to use caution when participating in outdoor activities or to wait out the smoke for a couple days,” said Jo Niehaus, spokesperson for the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency. “We are expecting more smoke impacts until Sunday when rain is predicted.”

Fine particles from smoke called PM 2.5 are easily inhaled and enter the bloodstream and lungs. It can aggravate existing respiratory and cardiovascular conditions and is especially harmful to children and seniors.

LRAPA’s monitors are updated hourly and can be followed here: http://www.lrapa.org/216/Todays-Current-Air-Quality 

For More Information, Contact:
Jo Niehaus, 541-736-1056 ext. 217
LRAPA Public Affairs Manager

Smoke Forecast for Willamette National Forest Fires -- Sept. 15, 2017

Smoke Forecast for Eugene -- Sept. 15, 2017

Smoke Forecast for Areas Near Chetco Bar and Miller Complex Fires -- Sept. 15, 2017

Smoke Forecast for Central Oregon -- Sept. 15, 2017

Smoke Forecast for Areas Near Eagle Creek Fire -- Sept. 15, 2017

Smoke Forecast for Area Near Umpqua North and High Cascades Complexes -- Sept. 15, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

Because You Asked: Should I Watch the 24-Hour Average or One-Hour Average On The Air Quality Index?

We’ve been steering a lot of folks to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Index lately. The color-coded tool looks like this:

OK, sadly, this year it has had a lot more red dots representing air quality in the unhealthy range. Anyway, here’s how you use the AQI, simply click on a dot on the map, and it will tell you which station you’re looking at and what the most current air quality readings are. It will show one-hour and 24-hour readings for particulate matter, the key ingredient in wildfire smoke that can cause health effects.

A blog commenter recently asked which one to use so we checked in with DEQ’s Air Quality Monitoring Section.

Here’s what they had to say:

The one-hour average is meant to assess immediate exposure and the 24-hour average is meant to assess more long-term exposure at lower levels. Both can affect your health, particularly if you have heart disease, an ongoing lung condition including asthma, if you’re over age 65 or if you’re a small child.  You can use these measurements for different purposes. For example, you can use the one-hour average to watch for periods of improved air quality, when you can open up your house and “air things out.” That way, you can start with cleaner air if heavy smoke returns. If you are sensitive to smoke effects and are deciding whether or not to work outside all day, you may want to use the 24-hour average, then use the one-hour average to pick the best time to go out for any unavoidable outside errands.

With the start of school around the corner, we know a lot of you are looking at the forecast and trying to determine whether to hold practices or games. The Oregon Health Authority has a great fact sheet you should check out called Public Health Guidance for School Activities during Wildfire Events.

If you have a question for us, leave a comment. We’ve appreciated all the feedback this wildfire season.

Sept. 11, 2017 Air Quality Outlook for locations near Chetco Bar fire

Sept. 11, 2017 Air quality outlook for Eugene, Oregon

Sept. 11, 2017 Air quality outlook for communities near Bend

Sept. 11, 2017 Air quality outlook for areas near the Umpqua North and High Cascades complex fires