Portland, OR—Continuation of a hot weather pattern and intrusions of wildfire smoke this week, along with increasing ozone levels and stagnant conditions have prompted the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Southwest Clean Air Agency and Lane Regional Air Protection Agency to extend the air pollution advisory issued last week until Friday, August 11 at noon.
Many areas in the Portland metropolitan area and Willamette Valley saw Air Quality Index rates rise into the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” and “unhealthy” levels last week. While conditions this week will likely not be as extreme, we may see ground-level ozone (smog) and wildfire smoke, combined with above 90-degree temperatures, affecting air quality through the end of this week.
Current air quality information is available on the web:
For areas in Oregon, other than Lane County: http://www.oregon.gov/deq/aq/Pages/aqi.aspx
For the Vancouver, WA area: http://www.swcleanair.org/burning/airquality.asp
For Lane County: http://www.lrapa.org/216/Todays-Current-Air-Qualit...
The Oregon Smoke Blog also includes resources on wildfire smoke and has daily forecasts. It is at: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/
The Air Quality Index rates air quality based on labels of “good” (0 to 50, green), “moderate” (51 to 100, yellow), “unhealthy for sensitive groups” (101-150, orange), and “unhealthy” (151-200, red), and “very unhealthy” (201 to 300, deep red). Any reading above 300 is “hazardous.” Ozone levels are expected to increase into the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range at several locations in the Portland and Vancouver metropolitan areas.
The advisory means that local residents are urged to protect their health and help improve air quality by reducing pollution from cars, mowers, paint and aerosol sprays. Commuters should consider taking public transportation or carpooling to work instead of driving, if possible. Smog-sensitive people, and those sensitive to wildfire smoke, should limit outdoor activities. This group includes older adults, children and people suffering from asthma or lung disease.
Pollution levels peak in the late afternoon and early evening. If you have asthma or other breathing problems, follow your health care provider's advice. Nearly 10 percent of Oregon adults and children have asthma, according to Oregon public health officials.
Here are ways you can help smog-sensitive people in your community by reducing air pollution:
• Avoid unnecessary engine idling
• Refuel your vehicle during cooler evening hours
• Limit driving by combining errands or using public transportation
• Don't use gas-powered mowers and yard equipment
• Don't paint or use aerosol sprays
Businesses can help by encouraging employees to carpool, take the bus or telecommute on advisory days.
On very hot summer days pollution from cars, other gas-powered engines and smog-producing chemicals in paints and aerosol sprays can create unhealthy levels of smog. Smog irritates the eyes, nose and lungs, and contributes to breathing problems, reduced lung function and asthma. Gas-powered engines are a top source of smog.
For information about transportation options in the Portland area, call 503-238-RIDE
(238-7433) or visit www.trimet.org.
For information about using C-TRAN or other transportation options in Vancouver area, call
360-695-0123, or visit www.c-tran.com
For information about transportation options in the Eugene area, call 541-687-5555 or visit www.ltd.org.
For weather information visit the National Weather Service website at: www.nws.noaa.gov.
Matthew Van Sickle, Public Information Officer, DEQ, 503-229-6044, firstname.lastname@example.org
Uri Papish, SW Clean Air Agency, Vancouver, WA, 360-574-3058, ext. 112, email@example.com
Jo Niehaus, Lane Regional Air Protection Agency, Eugene, 541-736-1056, ext. 217, jniehaus@LRAPA.org