Oregon Smoke Information

Map Notes:


The map above is not able to show all state air quality monitors. To see the whole set, go to the left column, under Hot Links
and click on DEQ Air Quality map which will bring up a map with many additional state monitors.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Deception fire continued to add minor acreage yesterday as interior pockets continued to burn out. Fire behavior was characterized as creeping and smoldering throughout the day. Slight smoke production was observed over the fire. Winds increase Tuesday afternoon which will help clear smoke out of the area.  Warmer and drier conditions return starting on Wednesday.
Burnout operations will begin Tuesday and continue into the week.  These burnouts are needed to secure uncontained fire within the perimeter. This will increase smoke impacts. The level of impact will depend on the progress of the burnouts and the weather. Decreased air quality will be realized locally and down valley as this smoke flows to the Northwest during morning hours.   

Air Quality Outlook (Particulate Matter less than 2.5 µm in diameter)
Site
Tuesday Morning forecast
Sep 2, 2014
Tuesday Afternoon forecast
Sep 2, 2014
Tuesday Evening forecast
Sep 2, 2014
Oakridge
Moderate
Moderate
Moderate
Westfir
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Moderate
Moderate
Dexter
Good
Good
Good



Monday, September 1, 2014

Deception Fire smoke update 9/1/14

The fire added minor acreage yesterday as a result of interior islands continuing to burn out. Fire behavior was characterized as creeping and smoldering throughout the day.  On Sunday, winds were light and ventilation was poor resulting in smoke flowing downhill into populated areas of the Willamette Valley.  

These benign weather conditions will persist through the day on Monday when smoke will follow a similar pattern of pooling in the valley bottoms after flowing downhill from higher elevations where the fire is burning. We anticipate that this smoke will lead to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups for short periods in the mornings during inversion break in Oakridge and Westfir.  Lesser but noticeable impacts to air quality will be realized down valley as this smoke flows to the Northwest during the morning.  

Air quality will improve in the afternoon as a result of daytime heating combined with moderate North to Northwest winds which should disperse smoke away from populations in the valley bottoms.

Site
Friday Morning forecast
Sep 1, 2014
Friday Afternoon forecast
Sep 1, 2014
Friday Evening forecast
Sep 1, 2014
Oakridge
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Moderate
Moderate
Westfir
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Moderate
Moderate
Hills Creek Lake Area
Moderate
Moderate
Moderate


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Air Quality Report and Outlook for 8/31/14
The Deception fire had minimal growth yesterday due to light rain conditions.  Overnight, the more stable conditions trapped emissions at the elevation of the fire. These emissions will drop into the valley early this morning before clearing out in the afternoon increased north winds.

We forecast the air quality in Oakridge and Westfir to reach Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups in the morning but we anticipate the afternoon conditions to improve to the Moderate range.

On Monday, northeast winds that should continue to push the majority of smoke to the South away from Oakridge and Westfir.

Site
Sunday Morning forecast
Aug 31, 2014
Sunday Afternoon forecast
Aug 31, 2014
Sunday Evening forecast
Aug 31, 2014
Oakridge
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Moderate
Moderate
Westfir
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Moderate
Moderate
Hills Creek Lake Area
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Moderate
Moderate



Oakridge wildfires holding on

Light rain and cooler temperatures in the Cascades on Saturday didn’t help put out wildfires near Oakridge, but they helped prevent the fires from spreading.

The Deception Complex fire, a group of five fires west of Oakridge, has grown to 2,196 acres, according to the interagency team fighting the fire.

The fire, which is being fought by more than 900 firefighters, is 55 percent contained, said Candice Lawrence, an interagency spokeswoman.

Residents on LaDuke Road and in the Deception Creek Mobile Home Park along Highway 58 remained under a Level II “get set” advisory Saturday, meaning they need to be ready to leave immediately.

Rain fell in varying amounts in the Willamette Valley on Saturday, but no more than a few hundredths of an inch of precipitation were predicted for the hills around Oakridge, Lawrence said.

Scattered showers were predicted through Saturday night, yet the precipitation wasn’t expected to penetrate the forest canopy and put out the fires burning below, she said.

Yet the cooler temperatures and higher humidity, especially at night, are helping keep the fire from spreading through areas of grass and brush, Lawrence said.

“It helps around the perimeter of a fire,” she said. “It helps suppress the fire when we have rains and high humidity.”

The fire has been burning several weeks, but changing weather conditions on Wednesday led to it doubling in size.

Officials evacuated residents for a brief time Wednesday evening as the fire threatened homes.

Daytime temperatures on Sunday will be in the 70s in the Oakridge area on Sunday, Lawrence said. No rain is forecast for Sunday.

Firefighting officials do not expect the fire to grow much on Sunday, Lawrence said.

Moderately smoky conditions were expected, the interagency team said.

The air-conditioned, smoke-free room at the Willamette Activity Center in Oakridge will open this weekend if requested by people through the fire department, according to Mayor Jerry Shorey.

Parts of the Willamette National Forest remain closed. The Umpqua National Forest has closed an area next to the Deception Creek drainage.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Air Quality Report and Outlook for 8/30/14
The deception fire grew 149 acres yesterday as a result of interior burning and burn out operations to strengthen perimeter control lines.  Smoke from the majority of this increase vented to the southeast in the late afternoon and evening with valleys winds blowing out of the west. Overnight, the more stable conditions trapped emissions at the elevation of the fire. These emissions will drop into the valley late this morning peaking before noon and then clearing as a result of increased west winds this afternoon. 

We forecast the air quality in Oakridge and Westfir to reach Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups near noon for a short period before west valley winds will clear the area of the majority of pollutants. We anticipate the afternoon conditions in Westfir and Oakridge to improve to the Moderate range.

On Sunday, another frontal system will result in north winds that should push the majority of smoke to the South.
Site
Saturday Morning forecast
Aug 30, 2014
Saturday Afternoon forecast
Aug 30, 2014
Saturday Evening forecast
Aug 30, 2014
Oakridge
Moderate
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Moderate
Westfir
Moderate
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Moderate
Hills Creek Lake Area
Moderate
Moderate
Moderate


Friday, August 29, 2014

Crews make small gain against blaze

But the Deception Complex fire near Oakridge could still flare up if winds increase

 
Officials had evacuated for a short time a mobile home park along Highway 58 and about 60 homes along LaDuke Road on Wednesday evening after weather conditions allowed the Deception Complex fire to more than double in size to 1,832 acres from 851 acres. The residents remained on a Level II — or be prepared to leave — standby alert Thursday night.
 
The fire flared up again Thursday afternoon, as officials had predicted earlier in the day, but it wasn’t as intense as on Wednesday.
 
“It doesn’t look as bad as it was at this time yesterday,” Rick Acosta, spokesman for the interagency team leading the firefighting efforts, said late Thursday afternoon.
 
Ground crews were able to reinforce fire lines Thursday where the blaze had rapidly grown and jumped the lines a day earlier, he said. They were assisted by helicopters dumping water and fire retardant on the flames.
 
More than 1,000 personnel, nine helicopters and more than 40 engines were on the scene Thursday, Acosta said.
 
Cooler temperatures forecast starting today and continuing through the weekend are expected to aid firefighting efforts. But officials at a news conference Thursday said they are concerned that winds may strengthen or become increasingly unpredictable this weekend.
 
Residents put on alert said they were breathing a little easier Thursday compared with the day before.
 
“I feel like we’re going to be okay, unless things switch dramatically overnight” and that seemed doubtful, said Jerry Shortt, who lives on LaDuke Road.
 
Shortt, 70, and his cousin spent hours Wednesday and Thursday watering down his 7 -acre property with sprinklers and hoses. It’s the closest wildfire has gotten in the nearly 40 years he’s lived on the property, he said. The fire was kept at bay Wednesday night, but burnt leaves rained down on his property.
 
Acosta reminded residents who have been put on alert to remain vigilant.
“Residents should take that seriously,” he said of the Level II standby alert. “There is still fire in the area.”
The fire was burning west of the Middle Fork ranger station on Highway 58 on the other side of a tall ridgeline. The ranger station, located about four miles west of Oakridge, was closed.
Lightning storms caused the first fires in the area in July, with an Aug. 10 storm causing at least one new fire in the area.
Meg Mitchell, Williamette National Forest supervisor, said Thursday that firefighters had been focusing on digging fire lines to contain the fire rather than attempting to extinguish it because the steep terrain was deemed unsafe for firefighters.
The fire had been about half contained Wednesday but quickly grew that afternoon when changing weather conditions brought in warmer and drier air, officials said.
 
Three smaller fires merged, and the blaze was able to jump containment lines and run up the ridgeline separating it from the homes. Burning debris ignited a few small spot fires on the hillside above the homes before firefighters quickly extinguished them. No structures were lost.
 
“It made all its push in a couple-hour period, then it set down,” said Shawn Sheldon, another Willamette National Forest official.
 
The smoke settled over Oakridge and caused air quality in the eastern Lane County town to deteriorate to unhealthy levels both days. The city’s air quality remained at an unhealthy level Thursday night.
 
In response to the unhealthy air quality, the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency advised residents to stay indoors, if possible, and limit outdoor activity, especially for children, senior citizens and people with heart and lung conditions.
 
The smoke has drifted into Bend and Cottage Grove, and the Waldo Lake Recreation Area farther east in the Willamette National Forest was reported to be very smoky.

Highway 58 remained open to traffic, although smoke limited visibility at times. Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Rick Little said it is possible the highway may be closed at some point due to the fire.
 
“We’ve also notified the contractor on a paving project east of Oakridge to be prepared to leave the highway quickly if such notification is necessary,” Little said Thursday. “That contractor is currently making a strong push to complete the paving today.”

Little also said people traveling over the holiday weekend should stay informed about the fire, be prepared to take an alternate route, and be ready for the unexpected if their route includes Highway 58.
 
At the Deception Creek Mobile Home Park on Thursday morning, Phil Macabee, 76, was gathering up belongings to return to his daughter’s home in Oakridge.
 
The smoke has been keeping away from the area in recent weeks, giving comfort to the residents, he said, but everything changed when the wind shifted Wednesday.
 
Macabee was attending an informational meeting Wednesday afternoon at the ranger station when he was told to go home due to the Level II standby alert.
 
He returned home to find the plume of smoke rising near the mobile home park, turning the setting sun red.
 
A neighbor told him about the Level III evacuation order at around 6 p.m., and he, his wife and their seven cats left to stay the night at their daughter’s home. As the fire settled for the night, officials returned to a Level II standby alert a short time later.
 
Macabee said he wasn’t getting worked up about the uncertainty because the fire was out of his control.
 
“You can’t accomplish anything worrying,” he said. “You have to have a plan of action and act.”
 
He also praised the work of the firefighters. They’ve done as good a job as humanly possible,” he said.
 
Officials said residents appeared to be taking news of the fire in stride.
 
“Overall, I’d say the community is pretty used to wildfire,” said Tom Lavagnino, another fire team spokesman.
Reporter Jack Moran contributed to this report.
 
Follow Christian on Twitter @RGchill . Email christian.hill@registerguard.com .

Deception Fire Update 8/29

       The Deception Fire grew by 313 acres yesterday.  Smoke from the fire was observed down drainage to the northwest as far as Dexter and up into the Cascades as far as the crest and O’Dell Lake on the Deschutes NF. The smoke started to disperse early afternoon however much of it remained trapped in the drainages. Smoke levels increased in Oakridge and along HWY 58 early Friday morning.
     Expect smoke to increase through the morning around Oakridge to Unhealthy Levels for Sensitive Groups and worsen to Unhealthy in early afternoon for a short period.  Smoke should lift later in the afternoon with increasing winds and improve back to Unhealthy Levels for Sensitive Groups.  

Air Quality Outlook (Particulate Matter less than 2.5 µm in diameter)


Site
Friday Morning forecast
Aug 29, 2014
Friday Afternoon forecast
Aug 29, 2014
Friday Evening forecast
Aug 29, 2014
Oakridge
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Unhealthy
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Westfir
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Unhealthy
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Hills Creek Lake Area
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups