News Release

For release: Jan. 25, 2011

William Knight, Oregon DEQ, Air Quality, Portland, (503) 229-5680
Kathy Finkle, SW Clean Air Agency, Vancouver, WA, (360) 574-3058, ext. 139
Sally Markos, Lane Regional Air Protection Agency, Eugene, (541) 736-1056, ext. 217

DEQ Issues Air Pollution Advisory for Northern Willamette Valley through Saturday, Jan. 29

DEQ asks residents to limit wood burning

In coordination with the National Weather Service, Oregon DEQ and Washington’s Southwest Clean Air Agency have issued an air pollution advisory for the northern Willamette Valley and Clark County. The agencies urge residents in the following areas to not burn in woodstoves and fireplaces because of poor air quality conditions: Clark, Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Polk, Yamhill and Marion Counties.


The Lane Regional Protection Agency is monitoring conditions in Lane County and may also issue an advisory if pollution levels climb due to stagnant weather conditions.


            The National Weather Service has issued an air stagnation advisory for Tuesday, Jan. 25 through Saturday, Jan. 29.   Stagnant air is expected to trap smoke at ground level causing pollution to build up and become unhealthy, especially for sensitive people.  At the beginning of the week conditions could remain stable with low levels of pollution buildup. However, there is a very real possibility conditions could worsen as the week progresses. Pollution levels are expected to worsen in the evening hours.


            Fine particles in smoke can be inhaled deeply into lungs and damage delicate tissues. Exposure to particle pollution is linked to a variety of significant health problems, ranging from aggravated asthma to premature death in people with heart and lung disease.


This type of wintertime air pollution comes mainly from wood smoke. If burning wood is your only source of heat, burn hot fires using dry wood to lessen pollution. To reduce pollution people also should avoid outdoor burning, limit driving and avoid excessive vehicle idling such as a long morning warm ups or leaving the engine on while picking up the kids from school.


Health officials recommend that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit time spent outdoors especially in the evening and early morning when pollution levels are highest. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse. Air pollution is especially harmful to children, people with heart and lung problems and adults age 65 and older.


In Washington’s Clark County, a Stage 1 Burn Ban is in place due to slower than expected clearing of high levels of air pollution from the last few days. Southwest Clean Air Agency staff will continue to monitor the weather and air quality conditions for signs of sustained improvement. At this point, the use of fireplaces and uncertified woodstoves is prohibited in Clark County (this includes  fireplace inserts) unless it is your sole source of heat. Outdoor burning is also prohibited.


Visit the Southwest Clean Air Agency website for real time air quality information for Southwest Washington at .


For more information about smoke pollution, visit the DEQ Web site at: .


To see current pollution levels in Oregon, visit the DEQ Web site at


For real-time, hourly data for fine particulate go to and click on the drop-down menu to locate your community.


Areas of southern and eastern Oregon will also be experiencing stagnant air and elevated levels of smoke pollution through this weekend. For the most up-to-date weather forecast information in these areas, contact the closest National Weather Service office. Weather information on air stagnation can be viewed at: or or .


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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