For release: Sept. 21, 2012
Threat of Elevated Smoke Levels in Several Oregon Communities Will Continue Until Wildfires Halted
The Pole Creek fire near Sisters continues to send smoke into the community and surrounding areas. Oregon DEQ, Oregon Health Authority and Deschutes County have teamed up to provide the latest health information.
Shifting weather patterns pushed smoke from wildfires across the Northwest, including the Pole Creek fire near Sisters, into the Willamette Valley and parts of southern and central Oregon this week. The trend could continue until the fires are out and weather patterns change dramatically.
Oregon DEQ, the Oregon Health Authority and Deschutes County are providing updates on the Pole Creek wildfire at www.Inciweb.org. More information can be found on the Pole Creek wildfire Facebook page and via the Deschutes National Forest Twitter feed.
Update: A fire smoke monitor has been placed in Redmond, Ore. A website hosted by the Western Regional Climate Center will allow you to obtain hourly readings. (Tip: Click on "Time Series Graph" then choose "Concentration" and create a graph. This will provide a different x-axis scale so you can better view the change in smoke concentrations.)
DEQ is urging Oregonians to take precautions during smoke events until the threat of wildfire smoke has subsided. People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should remain indoors and consult their healthcare providers if they have concerns.
Keep an eye on the AQI!
DEQ’s online air quality index can provide real-time information about smoke levels and other pollutants. DEQ’s website also features a special wildfire air quality index that provides real-time air quality ratings for smoke events.
Smoke concentration levels can rise and fall rapidly, depending on weather factors including wind direction. DEQ’s monitors are in fixed, albeit strategic locations, and are capturing a sample of the air. People should 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 regional or local public health agency for the latest in health conditions from smoke.
Should smoky conditions persist, state and county health officials urge local residents to take the following precautions:
For more information about the health effects of smoke:
For more information about local conditions: