News Release

For release: Feb. 1, 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 Southern Oregon

DEQ asks residents to voluntarily limit wood burning.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is issuing an air pollution advisory through Saturday, February 5, due to stagnant air conditions over Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake Counties.


The National Weather Service predicts that a ridge of high pressure throughout the area, along with a strong inversion and light winds, will lead to a period of air stagnation through Saturday, when a weak front should bring some mixing of the air. Air stagnations trap smoke and other air pollution at ground level, where people breathe the smoke particles deep into their lungs. 


To help avoid unhealthy pollution levels and reduce smoke buildup during the inversion, DEQ asks people in affected counties to limit open (outdoor) burning and the use of uncertified woodstoves, driving and vehicle idling. DEQ urges people who have alternative heating options to use them instead of woodstoves or fireplaces.


Restrictions on the use of woodstoves and fireplaces, outdoor burning and other activities may apply for residents in the affected areas.


For up to date, local information, residents in the affected areas should contact their nearest air quality agency.


In Klamath County, call 541-882-BURN (2876) or go to for the current advisory.


In Lake County, visit and click on “Air Quality” on the right sidebar for updated information for Lake County.


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).


Pollution Concerns

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 during periods of elevated air pollution levels.


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.


Limiting wood burning and vehicle idling during stagnant air conditions helps prevent build-ups of harmful air pollution. Efforts by Klamath Falls-area residents to limit wood smoke helped the area avoid unhealthy air-pollution levels during stagnant weather conditions twice in January.  


More information

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


Visit for general information about smoke pollution.


For the most up-to-date weather forecast information in your area, contact the closest National Weather Service office. Local radio stations and The Weather Channel in affected areas often provide the very latest air stagnation information in news programming and weather reports.

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