Heat, fire concerns rise as temps increase again

Weather Blog

Red flag warnings, excessive heat warnings in effect for eastern and central Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Find your favorite shady spot today because we’re turning up the heat again. Temperatures in the valley will jump to the low to mid 90s today and possibly a bit warmer Thursday.

You may find eggs cooking on sidewalks in eastern OR, up to 107 today, which happens to be the all time high for Portland on record. Naturally, there is an Excessive Heat Warning.

Lightning plays a primary role in fire starts and thunderstorms are once again possible across eastern Oregon. Check burn bans for your county. Red flag warnings & excessive heat warnings are in effect for eastern & central Oregon today and Thursday. See lightning-caused fires here.

While the Air Quality Index measures in the Good category for most of the Willamette Valley and beyond, smoke from wildfires is expected to be an issue for the Medford area and Klamath Basin. An Air Quality Alert is in effect for Medford/Klamath Basin until at least Friday. Remember wearing a mask doesn’t mean you’re protected from smoke.

Recommendations for wildfire smoke and COVID-19 during the 2020 wildfire season:

This wildfire season will be especially challenging as we continue to respond to the COVID-19
pandemic. There is concern about the health impacts of wildfire smoke overlapping with
COVID-19 because both impact respiratory and immune systems. COVID-19 restrictions limit
current public health recommendations to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke and will
complicate our public health response.

This guidance will help air quality and public health officials in Washington state respond to
wildfire smoke events during these unique circumstances. Overlapping Health Impacts of Wildfire Smoke and COVID-19. Breathing in wildfire smoke by itself can produce harmful health effects. These range from
minor symptoms, such as eye, nose, and throat irritation or headaches, to more severe
symptoms like shortness of breath, chest tightness, asthma attacks, and worsening existing
chronic conditions. Some of these respiratory symptoms, including dry cough, sore throat, and
difficulty breathing, are also common to COVID-19.

Early evidence indicates wildfire smoke exposures can make people more susceptible to
respiratory infections, likely including COVID-19. Recent studies indicate that poor air quality
can make symptoms and outcomes in people with COVID-19 more severe. Populations sensitive
to wildfire smoke exposures include people with heart and lung diseases, people with
respiratory infections, people with diabetes, stroke survivors, infants, children, pregnant
women, and people over 65 years of age. Some of these groups are also those most at risk for
COVID-19. Persons with, or recovering from, COVID-19 may be more at risk for negative health
effects from wildfire smoke exposure because of compromised lung and heart function.

When the air quality is poor from wildfire smoke, reduce outdoor physical activity. As the air
quality worsens you will need to go indoors and take additional steps to keep smoke out of
your home to improve indoor air quality.

WA State Department of Health https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/WFSCOVID_Recommendations.pdf

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