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.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Where was the worst smoke?

Currently, the smoke from the wildfires in Oregon has settled down and the region is enjoying good air quality.  During this break, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the past few weeks, since the big lightning storm on July 12th to see which areas around the state incurred the highest impacts from smoke.

The graph and table below show that Prineville, Burns, John Day, and Lakeview experienced the worst smoke, with each of these communities having at least one day exceeding 35 ug/m3 PM2.5 24-hour average. (Disclaimer, the data used for this analysis is preliminary and has not been officially quality assured by the State of Oregon). The worst of the smoke occurred during the period of July 16-19th.




Site
Maximum 24-hour PM2.5
Date of Maximum 24-hour Avg
No. of days with 24-hour Avg PM2.5 > 35 ug/m3
Baker City
14.5
July 18, 2014
0
Bend
23.2
July 16, 2014
0
Burns
73.8
July 18, 2014
2
Enterprise
12.5
July 17, 2014
0
John Day
60.5
July 18, 2014
2
Klamath Falls
18.3
July 16, 2014
0
LaGrande
16.2
July 16, 2014
0
Lakeview
41.7
July 17, 2014
1
Mutlipor (Mt. Hood)
10.2
July 15, 2014
0
Pendelton
13.6
July 16, 2014
0
Prineville
85.5
July 18, 2014
2
Sisters
22.1
July 16, 2014
0
The Dalles
11.9
July 13, 2014
0

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Current Smoke Conditions in Vale/Juntura/Brogan, Oregon July 26th, 2014
 
The spatial extent of the smoke is restricted to within a few miles of the individual fires on the Kitten Complex and the fires from the surrounding area.  Most of the smoke that can be seen from any distance is white (meaning that the fuels are light grass and light brush), and the result of the suppression actions being taken to be sure the fires stay within the current established fire lines.  The smoke maybe most noticeable at the peak temperature for the day because this is when the burn out activities will be most effective.  The communities of Vale, Juntura and Brogan should not see any significant smoke today, and unless conditions change with the expected lightning (bringing new fires) early next week, this condition should be the norm for the foreseeable (two or three days) future. The map below shows the locations of the communities in reference to the fire locations.  Please notice that, as of this morning, there has not been any significant heat detected by the satellite for 24 hours (on one fire) and for more than 24 hours on the other fires (see the fire just NW of Brogan). 

An air quality monitor has been setup in the Community of Vale, Oregon to take quantitative measurements of both weather and particulate matter (smoke).  The monitor has been measuring negligible amounts of particulate matter.  The values we have seen (please see the graph below) have been so low, that the air quality by any standard would be considered very clean and would be officially categorized as very good or excellent. 






The Hurricane Creek Fire (Created by Jim Brenner)
The Hurricane Creek Fire started as a lightning strike on July 13, 2014 grew to 120 acres by the 18th of July.  What we see from the AQI index (pm 2.5 Air Quality table at the end of this
post) is that despite an almost five fold increase in size on the 20th of July,  for a total of 645 acres, the worst air quality measured in Enterprise occurred on July 16th and 17th.  (See the photo to the left for the 17th.)  This prompts the question, since the wind direction was the same during the runs on the 16th and 17th as we saw on the 20th, and the amount of fuel consumed and particulate matter lofted was much higher (north facing slope on the 20th with heavy down/dead fuels that spotted into the crowns) why were Enterprise and Joseph spared on the 20th.  The answer to this question is the vertical instability of the air on the 20th ( see the vertical column picture on the left from the 20th of July.) with higher mixing heights allowed the smoke to lift up and out of the area where on the 16th and 17th this very unstable condition did not exist.  Even though the amount of smoke produced was far less as a whole, the lifting mechanism was not there during the earlier part of the burn so the people in Enterprise were impacted more and the air quality index was moderately(poor) as opposed to what is considered good air quality on
Sunday the 20th
The fire has good fire line on the west and parts of the north and south boundary.  The northern boundary is green and wet and has held well since the 17th.  The southern boundary is a rocky steep ridge with a south facing slope on the other side that has very sparse green surface fuels and to date has not had any spotting problems from the main fire.  The east is all granite.  Because of this, the fire will, unless there are significant changes in the fuels, most likely display some minor smoldering in the interior of the burn but will not be making any serious runs that will expand the existing acreage. 
Current Air Quality
As a result of the fire inactivity over the past 5 days the air quality in the area of Enterprise and Joseph has been good.  There is no smoke detectable by the local residents, and no complaints of any respiratory problems as a result of smoke in the air from the local citizenry.  In short, all is very quiet on this front in the Joseph, Enterprise area and should remain that way barring any new starts or a change in the fuel characteristics that would allow the Hurricane fire (if there is still sufficient heat within the burn perimeter) to spot out on the south facing slope along the southern ridge line. 


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Updated Air Quality Report for Central Oregon

Smoke Synopsis (prepared by Daniel Chan & Andrea Holland, Air Resource Advisor)­­­­­
              Widespread lightning strikes with about 0.25 inch of rain occurred in Central Oregon yesterday. Maximum temperatures for today is expected to be about 65 degrees F in the valleys and minimum humidity is expected to be about 55%.  Wildfires are not expected to spread today.  Smoke from smoldering fires will remain within the fire area and is expected to be light and not impact downwind communities.
        Bend and Sisters had Good air quality, but Prineville and Madras had Moderate air quality yesterday.   Downwind communities are expected to see good air quality today and tomorrow.        
            Higher temperatures and lower humidity are expected on Thursday which may result in increased fire behavior and/or potential new fire starts from Tuesday’s lightning strikes.

Air Quality Outlook (Particulate Matter less than 2.5 µm in diameter)
Site
Tuesday
July 22, 2014
AQI
Wednesday forecast
July 23, 2014
AQI
Thursday forecast
July 24, 2014
AQI
Disclaimer:
Warning: The data for 7/22 have been obtained from automated instruments and have not been subjected to a quality assurance review to determine their accuracy. They are presented for public awareness and should not be considered final. Conditions such as power outages and equipment malfunctions can produce invalid data.
Bend
Good
Good
Good
Madras
Moderate
Good
Good
Prineville
Moderate
Good
Good
Sisters
Good
Good
Good
Warm Spgs
No Information
Good
Good

AQI Index (µg/m3)
Potential Health Impacts
Actions to Protect Yourself
Good (0-12)
Air quality is satisfactory and poses little or no health risk.
None
Moderate (13-35)
Air quality is acceptable for most. There may be moderate health concern for a small number of sensitive people.
Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (36-55)
Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.
People with heart or lung disease, children and older adults should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.  Everyone else should limit prolonged or heavy exertion.
Unhealthy
(56-150)
Everyone may begin to experience more serious health effects.
The following groups should avoid all physical outdoor activity: People with heart or lung disease, children and older adults.  Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.
Very Unhealthy
(151-250)
Triggers a health alert, meaning everyone may experience more serious health effects
Everyone should avoid any outdoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should remain indoors.
For more information see the Oregon Smoke blog: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com

Air Quality data can be viewed at: http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Updated Air Quality Report for Central Oregon

Smoke Synopsis (prepared by Daniel Chan & Andrea Holland, Air Resource Advisor)­­­­­
       Air quality monitors indicate that yesterday’s air quality was moderate for particulate matter in Madras and Prineville. Bend and Sisters continued to experience good air quality.
 Thunder showers are expected in the area today along with increased humidity.  Lightning is unlikely to result in new fire starts.  Any fire growth and resulting smoke in the next couple of days will be mostly related to burn-out operations.  
 Wind is forecast to come from the West this afternoon which will push smoke from fires to the East.  Strong winds associated with thundershowers can disperse smoke. Rain associated with thundershowers can also wash out particulate matter in the air.  
 Good air quality is likely to continue at Bend and Sisters.  Prineville probably will see some improvement from yesterday, but air quality is likely to remain in the Moderate range for today.  Madras is likely to continue to have Moderate condition for today as it is largely downwind of the active Logger Unit Fires.
 Cooler temperature and chances of showers and thunderstorms are expected on Wednesday.  Fire fighters are expected to continue to gain ground on fires in the area. Wind is forecast to come from Southwest in the morning and then shift to the West in the afternoon.  Smoke will be pushed to the Northeast in the morning and then to the East in the afternoon.  

Air Quality Outlook (Particulate Matter less than 2.5 µm in diameter)
Site
Monday
July 21, 2014
AQI
Tuesday forecast
July 22, 2014
AQI
Wednesday forecast
July 23, 2014
AQI
Disclaimer:
Warning: The data for 7/21 have been obtained from automated instruments and have not been subjected to a quality assurance review to determine their accuracy. They are presented for public awareness and should not be considered final. Conditions such as power outages and equipment malfunctions can produce invalid data.
Bend
Good
Good
Good
Madras
Moderate
Moderate
Good
Prineville
Moderate
Good
Good
Sisters
Good
Good
Good
Warm Spgs
No Information
Moderate
Good


AQI Index (µg/m3)
Potential Health Impacts
Actions to Protect Yourself
Good (0-12)
Air quality is satisfactory and poses little or no health risk.
None
Moderate (13-35)
Air quality is acceptable for most. There may be moderate health concern for a small number of sensitive people.
Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (36-55)
Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.
People with heart or lung disease, children and older adults should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.  Everyone else should limit prolonged or heavy exertion.
Unhealthy
(56-150)
Everyone may begin to experience more serious health effects.
The following groups should avoid all physical outdoor activity: People with heart or lung disease, children and older adults.  Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.
Very Unhealthy
(151-250)
Triggers a health alert, meaning everyone may experience more serious health effects
Everyone should avoid any outdoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should remain indoors.

For more information see the Oregon Smoke blog: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com
Air Quality data can be viewed at: http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx