Wildfire smoke affects air quality in Oregon


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Heavy wildfire smoke continued Tuesday afternoon to affect areas throughout the state and the quality of air.

The air quality is due to fires around the state — mainly the Chetco Bar Fire.

As of Tuesday night, the Chetco Bar Fire burned 125,271 acres, an area larger than the City of Portland.

While Chetco is the largest fire, it’s not the only one. Oregon is also battling the Milli, Whitewater and Jones fires.

Usually, Portland’s air quality is “good,” which can fall anywhere between 0-50.

However, the last few days the air quality in the city has been around 143, which is considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

By Tuesday night, the EPA upgraded Portland’s air quality to acceptable for healthy people.

“This is a major problem for people that have lung disease,” Dr. Jeff Katz with Zoom+Care told KOIN 6 News. “Not that this will cause lung disease over just a couple of days, but if you already have asthma or COPD or other heart and lung conditions, it’s a major issue for you.

The Portland metro will start to see improved air quality late Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

For those wanting to head to the beach or spend the day outside for Labor Day, the air quality is expected continue improving throughout the weekend.

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