News Release

For release: Jan. 3, 2011

Larry Calkins, Air Quality Program, Hermiston, 541-567-8297 x225
Wayne Kauzlarich, Air Quality Program, Medford, 541-776-6136
William Knight, Communications & Outreach, Portland, (503) 229-5680

DEQ Issues Air Pollution Advisory for most of Eastern, Central and Southern Oregon

DEQ asks residents to voluntarily limit wood heating.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is issuing an air pollution advisory through Friday, January 7, due to stagnant air conditions over Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Wheeler counties. There is a possibility the National Weather Service will extend their stagnant air advisory into Friday of this week.


The National Weather Service is predicting that a ridge of high pressure, along with low mixing heights and light winds, is expected throughout the area which will lead to a period of air stagnation possibly through Wednesday with the possibility of a similar weather pattern lasting until Friday in some portions of the state.


DEQ asks people in affected counties to limit open burning and the use of uncertified woodstoves. DEQ urges people who have alternative heating options not to burn in woodstoves or fireplaces. People should also refrain from outdoor burning, and limit driving and vehicle idling.


Because the air quality in Klamath Falls and the Town of Lakeview is predicted to reach unhealthful levels, both cities are prohibiting burning today. Klamath County is currently prohibiting burning in woodstoves, fireplaces or fireplace inserts.


While the Town of Lakeview strongly recommends using alternative sources of heat as well, burning in certified woodstoves and inserts is allowed.


Burning is allowed in pellet stoves in both counties, but outdoor burning is prohibited. Klamath County updates its air quality advisory daily. Call 541-882-BURN (2876) or go to for the current advisory.


Visit and click on “Air Quality” on the right sidebar for updated information.


Other communities with air quality advisories include:

·         Pendleton: (Click on “Environmental” on the left sidebar.)

·         La Grande: (Look up “Air Quality” in the Quick Finder).


People in Medford, Ashland and all areas of Jackson County can call 541-776-9000 for up to date information or visit the Jackson County website at: .


Residents in Grants Pass and other parts of Josephine County can call the Citizens Advisory Burn Line at 541- 476-WOOD (9663).


During periods of air stagnation, smoke is trapped at ground level where people breathe the smoke particles deep into their lungs.  Numerous scientific studies have linked smoke pollution to a variety of problems including, but not limited to, coughing, aggravated asthma, bronchitis, and irregular heartbeat. 


Health officials recommend that young children, pregnant women, asthma sufferers, those with lung or heart conditions and adults age 65 and older limit vigorous outdoor activity.  Pollution levels are highest during evening and morning hours due to woodstove use and inversion conditions. Individuals likely to be affected should check with their doctor should pollution make asthma or other medical conditions worse.


DEQ calls periodic air pollution advisories during the winter due to stagnant air. Pollutants trapped near the surface can steadily increase in concentration toward unhealthful levels due to inadequate air mixing.  These pollutants are mainly generated from wood smoke, diesel engines, and mobile sources such as cars and trucks.


DEQ’s Air Quality Index (AQI) is a color-coded tool that shows air pollution levels. Green is good, yellow is moderate, orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups, and red is unhealthy for all groups.


To see current pollution levels in Oregon, visit DEQ’s website at For real-time, hourly data for fine particulate go to and click on the drop-down menu to locate your community.


Information about smoke pollution is available on the DEQ website at


For the most up-to-date weather forecast information in your area, contact the closest NWS office. Weather information on air stagnation can be viewed at: or or for the latest information


Local radio stations and The Weather Channel in affected areas may also include the very latest air stagnation information in news programming and weather reports. People in southwest and eastern Oregon, including those in Bend, Roseburg, Pendleton, Burns, Medford, Grants Pass, Lakeview and Klamath Falls, can access local air quality advisories by checking local media outlets to determine conditions for those specific areas.

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