For release: Jan. 17, 2013
DEQ Issues Air Pollution Stagnation Advisory For Much of Oregon through Sunday
Oregonians in affected areas asked to voluntarily limit wood heating. Relief possible by Sunday.
According to the National Weather Service, a strong inversion will persist over much of Oregon through the week and into the weekend. This will cause worsening air quality in valleys, while the mountains will be sunny with above normal temperatures. In addition, freezing fog will occur during the overnight hours in valleys.
Visit DEQ’s air quality index for information about air quality conditions in your area.
An air stagnation advisory is in effect through Sunday, Jan. 20 for the Portland metro area, the Willamette Valley, and portions of Douglas, Jackson, Klamath and Lakeview Counties. Stagnant conditions developed in north-central Oregon earlier this week and are expected to improve as early as Friday in Gilliam, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla and Wasco counties. This advisory is based on the latest information from the National Weather Service website at www.wrh.noaa.gov/mfr/.
Due to a persistent temperature inversion over much of the Pacific Northwest and light winds, air quality in portions of the affected area are already as bad or worse than during last August’s forest fires, and all outdoor activity should be limited for all people in the affected areas. Air quality is expected to deteriorate during the weekend in many areas and pollutants may reach “unhealthful” levels.
For a map showing specific areas affected by the advisory, visit the National Weather Service website.
DEQ asks people in the affected areas to halt outdoor burning and limit use of uncertified woodstoves. Persons with questions about outdoor burning should contact their local fire department. DEQ urges people who have alternative heating options not to burn in woodstoves or fireplaces. People should also limit driving and vehicle idling.
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.
The public can check local air quality levels via DEQ’s Air Quality Index, a color-coded tool that shows pollution levels. Green is good, yellow is moderate, orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups and red is unhealthy for all groups. Visit DEQ’s website at www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx. For real-time, hourly data for fine particulate, go to www.deq.state.or.us/lab/aqm/rt/rtHourlyCone.aspx and click on the drop-down menu to locate your community.
Information about smoke pollution is on DEQ’s website at: www.deq.state.or.us/aq/burning/woodstoves/index.htm .
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 may also include the latest air stagnation information.