Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality issued an air pollution advisory Wednesday afternoon, saying smoke from western wildfires and stagnant air could cause problems for people with asthma or other ailments.
"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's 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."
The agency expects the air pollution advisory to last through Tuesday, Aug. 8, as 90-degree temperatures continue in the Willamette Valley.
The National Weather Service reported Wednesday, Aug. 2, that a smoky haze was building across the valley mostly because smoke from the Whitewater Fire near Mount Jefferson and fires burning in British Columbia is drifting into Oregon and Washington.
DEQ officials expect the haze to linger in the region for a few more days.
Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency because of the wildfires across the state. Brown said the state could be in for a rough week as hot, dry and windy conditions continued and more thunderstorms in the forecast that could increase the state's fire danger.
Brown's declaration allows the Oregon National Guard to mobilize resources to help the state Department of Forestry and the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office fight the fires.
"As Oregon faces a near record-breaking heatwave, the threat of wildfires increases," Brown said.
DEQ's advisory means that residents should try to reduce pollution from cars, lawn mowers, paint and aerosol sprays. People who are sensitive to smog should stay indoors as much as possible, according to the DEQ.