Red sky at morning means more smoky haze for Washington County
Most metro-area residents awoke to a hazy morning, with wildfire smoke turning the sunrise deep red.
As of about 7 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14, Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality rated the region's air quality unhealthy for senior citizens, children and people with respiratory ailments. The region's air quality should improve to "moderate" throughout the day, DEQ reported on its air quality website.
More than a dozen major wildfires are burning in the state, mostly in Southern and Central Oregon. Smoke from those fires has drifted into the region for the past couple of weeks.
The National Weather Service reported that the smoke is hanging a couple thousand feet in the sky, and could stick around until Wednesday or Thursday, when a low-pressure system moves in and brings a little cooler weather.
The Oregon Health Authority urges residents of affected communities to take steps to avoid health problems during hot, smoky conditions.
People can get the latest information by visiting the Oregon Smoke blog, Oregonsmoke, or by calling 211.
People are encouraged to avoid outdoor activities when air quality is unhealthy and hazardous.
"Those with heart or lung problems, as well as young children, are especially vulnerable," said Delia Hernández, communications officer, Oregon Health Authority. "These people should stay indoors while smoke levels are high. If smoke levels are expected to remain high for more than two days, they might consider leaving the area until air quality improves. Others can avoid smoke by staying indoors with windows and doors closed."
High-efficiency particulate air filters, or HEPA filters, are helpful, she said, as are non-ozone producing electrostatic precipitator air cleaners and filters.
Other advice from the Public Health Division:
• To reduce other sources of indoor smoke: avoid burning cigarettes and candles; using gas, propane, wood-burning stoves and furnaces; cooking; and vacuuming.
• If you have heart disease or lung disease, such as asthma, follow your health care provider's advice about prevention and treatment of symptoms.