News Release

For release: Jan. 30, 2013

Contacts:
William Knight, Office of Communications and Outreach, Portland, 503-229-5680; Cell: 503-757-1889

DEQ Issues Air Pollution Advisory for Southern Oregon

National Weather Service predicts stagnant weather conditions until next Tuesday. Oregonians in affected areas asked to voluntarily limit wood heating.

According to the National Weather Service, a strong inversion will persist over much of southern Oregon until early next week. DEQ is issuing an air pollution advisory through Tuesday, Feb. 5 due to stagnant conditions which may trap pollution causing air quality to deteriorate in parts of Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake Counties.

 

Air quality in portions of the affected areas may already be as bad or worse than during the forest fires last August. Air quality is expected to deteriorate during the week in many areas and pollutants may reach “unhealthful” levels. All outdoor activity should be limited for all people in the affected areas.

 

Visit DEQ’s air quality index for information about air quality conditions in your area.

 

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/rtHourlyConc.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.

 

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