Medford, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality advisory today for Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties, which are being impacted by smoke from a number of wildfires.
DEQ and county health officials are urging residents to take precautions from wildfire smoke. With high temperatures and thunderstorms in the forecast that could spark more wildfires, conditions are expected to last at least through Thursday.
Air quality readings in Shady Cove, Ashland, Medford and Klamath Falls were all very unhealthy (purple) at points on Monday morning, with Shady Cove reaching hazardous levels. Air quality readings in Grants Pass and Provolt were unhealthy or red.
An unhealthy or red reading on the Air Quality Index means that everyone may begin to experience health effects and everyone should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. A very unhealthy or purple reading means that everyone may experience more serious health effects.
The color-coded index ranks air quality as follows: Green is good. Yellow is moderate (unhealthy for extremely sensitive groups). Orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups. Red is unhealthy for everyone. Purple is very unhealthy for all groups. Maroon (greater than 300) is hazardous and the entire population is more likely to be affected.
Residents can view current air quality conditions at https://oraqi.deq.state.or.us/home/map
Remember, local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly, depending on weather factors including wind direction.
Oregon's monitoring network does not capture air quality conditions in all communities. For this reason, it's important for residents to gauge air quality conditions where they live and take appropriate actions to protect themselves.
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.
Visit the Oregon Smoke Blog for more information: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/
DEQ: Katherine Benenati, Public Affairs Specialist, Eugene, 541-600-6119, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jackson County: Tanya Phillips, Jackson County Public Health, 541-770-7708
Klamath County: Ramona Quinn, email@example.com
Erin Schulten, firstname.lastname@example.org
Josephine County: Michael Weber, Public Health Director, (541) 474-5339, email@example.com