PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality advisory for communities in central, northeast and southeast Oregon, lasting from Sep. 12 to Sept. 14, as the Portland metro area continues to deal with hazy skies that started over the weekend.
The affected areas are Baker, Crook, Deschutes, eastern Lane, Grant, Harney, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Wheeler counties as a result of the smoke from the Cedar Creek and Double Mountain fires, according to the DEQ.
Jackson, Josephine, Douglas and Curry counties are not included in the air quality advisory because of improving conditions, but smoke levels can change frequently with the weather.
KOIN 6 News’ weather team reports air quality in the Portland metro area and western Oregon will start improving over the next day as westerly winds strengthen.
Infants and young children, people with heart or lung disease, older adults and pregnant people are most at-risk during the air quality advisory.
In addition, cloth, dust and surgical masks are not recommended for protection against harmful smoke particles. NIOSH-approved N95 or P100 respirators are a better option if they are properly worn, but people with heart or lung conditions should speak to their health care provider before choosing to wear one.
KOIN 6 meteorologist Joseph Dames reported, “That smoke screen is out there [in The Dalles.] You can anticipate there will be some burning eyes if you’re sensitive to that kind of particulate. That’s going to be hanging around probably the next couple of days for central Oregon, but overall [there are] some positive signs. Once you get that onshore flow, that’s really going to help us out. And as its smoke clears, things will improve steadily behind it.”
Monitor the smoke conditions via the Oregon Smoke Information Blog, DEQ’s Air Quality Index, or the OregonAIR app. ODEQ provided some measures that Oregonians can take to protect themselves and their families as elevated smoke levels persist here.