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, August 4, 2015

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACTS: Tanya Phillips, Health Promotion Manager, 541-770-7708

DATE OF RELEASE: August 4, 2015 / 1:30 pm

 

Watch for Unhealthy Smoke Levels

[Medford, OR] - Jackson County health officials are offering information about steps help local residents can take to avoid illness from wildfire smoke inhalation.

People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children, are advised to stay indoors. Poor air quality conditions are a health threat and should be avoided by all residents in smoky communities. Local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly depending on weather factors, including wind direction.

Take the following precautions to avoid breathing problems or other symptoms from smoke::

 Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with highest concentrations. Use visibility to estimate air quality (attached document). This method is useful during wildfires because air quality monitors may not be located nearby and may not represent real-time conditions. Smoke levels can change rapidly and conditions can vary significantly at different locations. Go to http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/burning/wildfires/visibility.htm for more information

 Avoid smoke either by leaving the area or protecting yourself by staying indoors, and by closing windows and doors

 Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions.

 Drink lots of water - staying hydrated can keep your airways moist which will help reduce symptoms of respiratory irritation such as scratchy throat, running nose and coughing.

 People exposed to smoky conditions and who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers.

 

Check DEQ's Air Quality Index to see real-time air monitoring data from monitors placed around Oregon: http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx

If you must be outdoors, wearing a special mask called a "particulate respirator" can also help protect your lungs from wildfire smoke. Dust masks that are not NIOSH-certified may not offer protection from small particulate matter, even if properly worn. NIOSH-certified N95 respirators Page 2 of 2

 

are masks made of filtering material that fit over the nose and mouth. The filter material will filter out some of the small particles that may be found in smoke, but only if there is a good fit to the wearer's face. It is also important to know that N95 particulate respirators and dust masks only filter particles, not toxic gases and vapors.

Most people will find it difficult to use the NIOSH-certified N95 respirators correctly for general use. For instance, it is impossible to get a good seal on individuals with facial hair. It is important to make sure the respirator fits properly and that air does not leak around the sides. If it does not fit properly, the respirator will provide little if any protection, and may offer the wearer a false sense of protection. To make sure that the mask is the correct N95 mask and is properly sealed, one is recommended to be fit tested by professionally trained personnel.

Filtering face-piece respirators and masks can make the work of breathing more difficult and can lead to increased breathing rates and heart rates. They can also contribute to heat stress.

Because of this, respirator use by those with heart and respiratory diseases should only be done under a doctor's supervision. Even healthy adults may find that the increased effort required for breathing makes it uncomfortable to wear a respirator for more than short periods of time.

The best way to reduce your exposure to wildfire smoke is avoid smoke either by leaving the area or protecting yourself by staying indoors, and by closing windows and doors; avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions; people exposed to smoky conditions and who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers.

For more information on wildfires, health threats from wildfire smoke, and resources in English and Spanish visit http://jacksoncountyor.org/hhs/General/Preparedness

 

Ken Armstrong

DEQ Public Affairs Specialist

Western Region

 

(541) 686-7997  office

(541) 600-6119   work cell

armstrong.ken@deq.state.or.us

 

Medford and areas of SW Oregon still experiencing unhealthy smoke levels

The ongoing Stouts Creek wildfire and other smaller fires in the region are causing unhealthy smoke levels in Medford and the surrounding communities. Smoke levels are expected to continue in the moderate to unhealthy range, and may potentially reach hazardous levels at times. Check with your local county health department and the Oregon Health Authority for health information.  Also, air quality updates can be found at the DEQ Air Quality map. See the left margin of the smoke blog for links to all information.


Smoke information for residents of Josephine County

Josephine County which includes Grants Pass and Cave Junction air quality has moved into the good to moderate range.  However, smoke levels can change rapidly during wildfire events.  Josephine County health officials are encouraging people to be aware of the smoke because of ongoing fires in the area. For more information about Air Quality in Josephine County call 541-476-9663
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is the EPA's scale for rating air quality


Air Quality
Rating
Air Quality Index (AQI)
PM2.5 1-hour Average (µg/m3)
PM2.5 24-hour Average (µg/m3)
8-hour Ozone Concentration (ppm)
GOOD
0 - 50
0.0 - 40.4
0.0 - 12.0
0.000 - 0.059
MODERATE
51 - 100
40.5 - 80.4
12.1 - 35.4
0.060 - 0.075
UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS
101 - 150
80.5 - 175.4
35.5 - 55.4
0.076 - 0.095
UNHEALTHY
151 - 200
175.5 - 300.4
55.5 - 150.4
0.096 - 0.115
VERY UNHEALTHY
201 - 300
300.5 - 500.4
150.5 - 250.4
0.116 - 0.374
HAZARDOUS
>300
>500.5
>250.5
>0.375










Table 1. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is the EPA's scale for rating air quality
Wildfires Cause Hazardous Air Quality in Klamath County
Klamath Falls, Or. - Public Health officials urge Klamath County residents to take precautions as the air quality reached  Hazardous  levels. The wind direction and speed will vary throughout the next three days. We advise residents to use caution when they are outdoors. The air quality index, a 24-hour average of pollution levels, reached hazardous levels Saturday  at 7:00 pm, meaning Hazardous air conditions for all groups (see U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s scale for rating air quality below).

The smoke coming into our area is believed to be from the” Frog Fire”  in Northern California and from the “Stouts Creek Fire”  16 miles east of Canyonville, Oregon. During the next three days our Air Quality may vary from Hazardous to Moderate levels. Check out http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/  and http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx    
 for updated fire and Air Quality information. Klamath County Environmental Health Division will also provide updated Air Quality information at 541-882-2876 http://klamathairquality.blogspot.com/ , http://klamathair.info/, and https://www.facebook.com/KlamathBasinAirQuality?ref=hl.

Klamath County Public Health is advising residents in Klamath County to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and urge local residents to take the following precautions to avoid breathing problems or other symptoms from smoke:

  • Check local Air Quality Index for information about conditions.
  • Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors. This can usually provide some protection, especially in a tightly closed, air-conditioned house in which the air conditioner can be set to re-circulate air instead of bringing in outdoor air. Staying inside with the doors and windows closed can usually reduce exposure.
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity.
  • Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution. Some indoor sources of air pollution can emit large amounts of the same pollutants present in wildfire smoke. Indoor sources such as burning cigarettes, gas, propane and woodburning stoves and furnaces, and activities such as cooking, burning candles, and vacuuming can greatly increase the particle levels in a home. These sources of indoor air pollution should be avoided when wildfire smoke is present.
  • Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, but will not offer protection from smoke. An “N95” mask work properly will offer some protection.
Individuals with lung diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should follow their health care provider’s advice about prevention and treatment of symptoms. When smoke levels are high enough, even healthy people may experience symptom remember, local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly, depending on weather factors including wind direction. People can conduct a visual assessment of smoke levels to quickly get a sense of air quality levels and take precautions. If people have additional concerns, they should contact the nearest local public health agency for the latest in threats to health conditions from smoke.

Klamath County Health Department advises you to see your health care professional for your specific health situation if necessary.
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's scale for rating air quality
The data displayed are the most current available.
All readings are preliminary and unvalidated. Following final review, all values are subject to change.
New AQI readings will be available at approximately 15-20 minutes past the hour. The AQI map will refresh asynchronously at this time.
The units ppm and µg/m3 stand for parts per million and micrograms per cubic meter, respectively. Both are used in the measurement of air pollutant concentration.
Air Quality
Rating
Air Quality Index (AQI)
PM2.5 1-hour Average (µg/m3)
PM2.5 24-hour Average (µg/m3)
Ozone 8-hour Average (ppm)
GOOD
0 - 50
0.0 - 40.4
0.0 - 12.0
0.000 - 0.059
MODERATE
51 - 100
40.5 - 80.4
12.1 - 35.4
0.060 - 0.075
UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS
101 - 150
80.5 - 175.4
35.5 - 55.4
0.076 - 0.095
UNHEALTHY
151 - 200
175.5 - 300.4
55.5 - 150.4
0.096 - 0.115
VERY UNHEALTHY
201 - 300
300.5 - 500.4
150.5 - 250.4
0.116 - 0.374
HAZARDOUS
>300
>500.5
>250.5
>0.375
Table 1. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is the EPA's scale for rating air quality

Monday, August 3, 2015

Smoke Forecast for Monday-Wednesday August 3-5, 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

The figure below shows the current air quality around the State as of 3:22 pm.  Note, worse concentrations of smoke are occurring in southwestern portions of the state (indicated by the red dots), while moderate air quality is occurring in the NE and central portions of the state (indicated by the yellow dots).  The green dots indicate locations of good air quality and the grey dots indicate a station which is currently not reporting (e.g, Crater Lake National Park).

Figure 1.  Observed Air Quality for Oregon for today, Monday August 3, 2015

The next two figures are the Blue Sky Model predicted 24-hour average smoke concentrations and the maximum hourly smoke concentration across the State for today (August 3, 2015).   The difference between the daily average and the maximum hourly concentrations give an indication of the expected change in smoke concentration predicted to occur throughout the day.  The widespread moderate smoke over NE oregon is not predicted to last all day, whereas the smoke over SW oregon does not appear to change significantly.

Figure 2.  Daily Average Model-Predicted Smoke Concentrations For Monday August 3, 2015


Figure 3.  Maximum Model-Predicted Hourly Smoke Concentration for Monday, August 3, 2015



On Tuesday, smoke is predicted to spread south and eastward, as shown in Figure 4. Thus communities in SW Oregon will remain smoky.  Figure 5 illustrates that smoke is predicted to become heavy at times over SW Oregon and for Klamath Falls.

Figure 4.  Daily Average Model-Predicted Smoke Concentrations For Tuesday August 4, 2015


Figure 5.  Maximum Model-Predicted Hourly Smoke Concentration for Tuesday, August 4 2015




On Wednesday, smoke should dissipate over central and eastern portions of the state, but still remain in relatively high concentrations in the SW portion of the State.


Figure 6.   Daily Average Model-Predicted Smoke Concentrations For Wednesday August 5 2015



Figure 7.  Maximum Model-Predicted Hourly Smoke Concentration for Wednesday, August 5 2015


An Urgent Public Health Activity Report Within Jackson County

From Jackson County Health and Human Services.  Flash Report - August 3, 2015 - An Urgent Public Health Activity Report Within Jackson County.  

Watch for Unhealthy and Hazardous Smoke Levels In Jackson County

Jackson County health officials and DEQ urge people to watch for unhealthy smoke levels. It is important for people to be observant of the air quality during the wildfire season, smoke levels can rise and fall depending on weather factors including wind direction.

During a wildfire smoke event, Jackson County health officials and DEQ advise residents to take the following precautions: 
  • Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with highest concentrations. 
  • Avoid smoke either by leaving the area or protecting yourself by staying indoors, and by closing windows and doors 
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions. 
  • People exposed to smoky conditions and who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers. 
Check DEQ’s Air Quality Index to see real-time air monitoring data from monitors placed around Oregon: http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx. Keep in mind that monitoring locations are limited and pollution levels may be higher in some areas, especially those closer to a wildfire. 

Conduct a visual assessment: People can conduct a visual assessment of nearby smoke to quickly get a sense of air quality levels. Generally, if you can see up to 15 miles, the air quality is probably good. If you can see less than one mile, the air quality is very unhealthy and everyone should avoid outdoor activities. Refer to the descriptions below for more information based on how far you can see in various conditions:
  • Between 5-15 miles: Air quality is moderate and beginning to deteriorate, and is generally healthy, except possibly for smoke sensitive persons. The general public should avoid prolonged exposure if conditions are smoky to the point where visibility is closer to the 5 mile range. 
  • If under 5 miles: The air quality is unhealthy for young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness. These people should minimize outdoor activity. 
  • If under 3 miles: The air quality is unhealthy for everyone. Young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness should avoid all outdoor activities. 
  • If under 1 mile: The air quality is very unhealthy, and in some cases may be hazardous. Everyone should avoid all outdoor activities. 
Wildfire Smoke The content in wildfire smoke varies depending on the type of vegetation that is burning, the moisture level, fire temperature, wind and other weather related factors, and the stage of burning. Depending on these variables, wildfire smoke comprises a complex mixture of particulate matter, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapor, hydrocarbons and other organic chemicals, and various trace minerals. For the general public, the principal pollutant of concern from wildfire smoke is “particulate matter” — by which is meant the mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets that is suspended in the air. 
Health Effects  Health effects of particulate matter (PM) are related to the particulate size. Airborne particles of diameter ≤10 μm (PM10) usually irritate only the eyes, nose, and throat. Particulates from wildfire smoke tend to be of diameter <2.5 μm (PM2.5), so they can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, causing more substantial health problems, especially for those with preexisting health conditions. The duration and concentration of smoke exposure, along with patient age and degree of sensitivity, play an important role in determining whether or not someone will suffer smoke-related health problems.

Even in healthy individuals, wildfire smoke can cause: • eye irritation and dryness; • persistent cough, phlegm, wheezing, scratchy throat, irritated sinus, headache; • shortness of breath; and • pulmonary inflammation. 

Exposure to wildfire smoke can affect more seriously those with preexisting respiratory conditions such as respiratory allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In addition to the above symptoms, such persons may experience: • fatigue; • chest pain or discomfort; • exacerbation of their respiratory conditions; and • reductions in lung function.

Other health-related concerns — e.g., carbon monoxide poisoning or increased risk of cancer —are sometimes surfaced by members of the general public. In general, the long-term risks from short-term smoke exposures are thought to be low. Urban fire fighters exposed to smoke over an entire working lifetime have about a three-fold increased risk of lung cancer. Persons with cardiovascular disease who are exposed to wildfire smoke may experience chest pain and cardiac arrhythmias with relatively low levels of carbon monoxide. 

Sensitive Populations Certain population groups may be more sensitive to wildfire smoke exposure. These individuals may suffer more severe short-term and chronic effects. Groups that are more sensitive to wildfire smoke exposure include: • Persons with asthma or other respiratory disease* • Persons with cardiovascular disease • Persons ≥65 years of age • Children, even those without any pre-existing health illness • Smokers, especially those who have smoked for several years 

Reducing Exposure The safest thing to do is to avoid exposure to the wildfire smoke if possible. Those who are sensitive to smoke should evacuate the smoky area. For those who cannot evacuate the smoky area, strategies to decrease exposure to smoke include: staying indoors whenever possible; using air conditioners on recirculation in homes and when driving in a vehicle; using mechanical air cleaners; and minimizing other sources of exposure to airborne particulate matter — such as smoking tobacco, use of woodburning stoves, burning candles and vacuuming. 

Mask or No Mask During and after a wildfire, you will commonly see masked people around the community. You might want to know the following about masks: (1) the types of masks that are available; (2) the level of protection afforded by each type of mask; and, (3) what to tell your patients about masks. 

Wet bandanas covering the mouth, surgical masks, dust masks, and N95 respirators offer differing levels of protection from wildfire smoke. A wet bandana, and surgical and dust masks can reduce exposure to large particles from wildfire smoke, but their capacity to filter PM2.5 is limited; for these reasons, they provide little protection, especially for those who are most sensitive to wildfire smoke. 

N95 respirators are made from filtering material certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to remove 95% of fine particulates, but only if the respirator fits properly. The fit is all-important: if the mask doesn’t fit properly, air with all its particulate matter gets in around the sides of the mask and is inhaled by the hapless wearer, perhaps worse off for the false sense of protection. Those who are erroneously confident in the protective power of their masks may well spend more time outdoors, thereby increasing their exposure to smoke. To ensure that an N95 mask fits correctly, an individual must be “fit tested” — something not typically offered along with an N95 respirator at the local hardware store.  

Even healthy adults may find that the increased effort required for breathing makes wearing an N95 mask difficult and uncomfortable. Wearing a properly fitting mask necessarily increases resistance to air flow, thereby increasing the work of breathing and often the heart rate. Therefore, breathing through an N95 mask for a long period of time poses a theoretical risk for those with preexisting cardiovascular or lung disease; such persons should attempt to wear an N95 mask only under the supervision of a clinician.  

Be prepared to inform inquisitive patients about the different types of masks, the levels of protection that they provide, and the pros and the cons of each.

The mission of Jackson County Health and Human Services is to plan, coordinate and provide public services that protect and promote the health and well-being of county residents.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hazardous Air Quality in Klamath Falls

August 2, 2015, 7:44 am.

As of 7:30 this morning, air quality had worsened over much of southwestern and south central Oregon, as depicted in this figure of the color coded 24-hour average AQI.  As expected, air quality remained unhealthy to very unhealthy in Medford and Shady Cove.   Provolt moved into the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category. Grants Pass and Cave Junction remained only in the moderate range.  However, Klamath Falls moved into the HAZARDOUS category and even as far away as Lakeview moved into the moderate category.