For release: Sept. 27, 2012
Threat of Elevated Smoke Levels in Several Oregon Communities Will Continue Until Wildfires Halted
The Pole Creek fire continues to send smoke into Sisters and surrounding areas while Hood River and surrounding areas in the Columbia River Gorge are also seeing smoke from nearby wildfires
UPDATE 9/28/12: DEQ's Air Quality Index and Wildfire Air Quality Index recorded "moderate" levels of smoke pollution in the Portland Metro area and portions of the Willamette Valley. This trend could continue as wildfires in the Columbia Gorge and near Sisters continue to burn and weather patterns push smoke into these areas. The U.S. Forest Service is expected to set up a mobile air quality monitor in Hood River today.
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.
Interested in seeing the trends in air quality related to wildfires? View hourly concentrations of wildfire smoke on DEQ's website. From the drop down menu select the station you'd like to view. You can convert the raw values provided at the end of each hour to corresponding health ratings by viewing the Wildfire Health Rating Scale. A link to the scale is provided on the left sidebar of the web page.
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: