Wildfire smoke coming our way
National Weather Service forecasts wildfire smoke intrusions
The National Weather Service has forecast patchy smoke for areas of Lane County, which may affect air quality over the next few days. A shift in winds will increase the potential for smoke intrusions from the Douglas Complex and Whiskey wildfires into the Willamette Valley. The Douglas complex fire covers an area larger than 56 square miles and is now a national priority fire. Thunderstorms are also expected to spark later this week, bringing the potential for more wildfires.
“Air quality can change quickly and it would not be surprising to see levels in the moderate range with a wind shift,” says Sally Markos, spokesperson for the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA). “The smoky haze in the upper atmosphere has been quite noticeably obscuring views over the last week.” Despite the haze and higher particulate levels, air quality has remained in the good category.
Residents who are sensitive to pollution are advised to use caution when participating in outdoor activities. Individuals with asthma, respiratory problems, or heart disease are advised to curtail vigorous activity when air quality deteriorates. The fine particles in the smoke are especially harmful because they are inhaled deep into the lungs and can enter the bloodstream. Residents experiencing health problems associated with the smoke and heat are encouraged to consult with their doctors.
LRAPA will be monitoring conditions and will provide updates as warranted. The public can track hourly particulate levels and view the Air Quality Index by logging onto the LRAPA website at www.LRAPA.org. For up-to-date information about the wildfires, including smoke dispersion forecasts, residents can check out an interagency blog: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.
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