The sun rose as a blood-red orb this morning, the first hit that most area residents had that wildfire smoke had drifted into the region.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said wildfires across the state are creating hazardous and smoky conditions. Smoke from several fires started by lightning strikes over the weekend, as well as larger fires already burning in the region, may continue to drift into Oregon communities and rapidly degrade air quality.
"People with chronic lung or heart conditions, the elderly, and children have higher risk of health problems from the fine particles in wildfire smoke," said Dr. Richard Leman, Oregon Health Authority public health physician. "People who suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions should follow their disease management plans, keep medications on hand, and contact health care providers if necessary."
DEQ and local county health departments urge residents to take the following precautions to avoid breathing problems or other symptoms from smoke:
• Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with highest concentrations.
• Residents can check the current local air quality conditions on DEQ's website or call 503-229-5696. Avoid outdoor activities when air quality is unhealthy and hazardous.
• People at increased risk from wildfire smoke can avoid smoke, either by leaving the area or protecting themselves by staying indoors, especially in places with a filter in the heating or cooling system that removes very fine particulate matter.
• Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions. People with heart or lung problems, as well as young children, are especially vulnerable.
• People suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their disease management plans or contact their healthcare providers.
The Oregon Smoke Blog, published by DEQ, also has helpful information.