Air Quality Advisory issued for all of Oregon
The Central Oregon Information Network put out the following statement Thursday afternoon:
Unhealthy and hazardous air is expected statewide through the weekend. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality advisory Thursday for all regions of Oregon due to smoke from fires in Oregon, Washington and California.
Air quality will likely worsen in Central Oregon starting Thursday and continue degrading through the weekend. Smoke levels may be unhealthy or hazardous. When smoke levels are hazardous, everyone needs to take steps to protect themselves.
Protect your health when smoke levels are high:
• Avoid outdoor activities and stay inside if possible. Keep windows and doors closed.
• Be aware of smoke in your area and avoid places with the highest levels.
• Use high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These can be portable filters or can be installed in indoor heating, ventilation, cooling and air purification systems. You can also create your own air purifying filter by following these instructions for a DIY air filter.
• If you have heart or lung disease or asthma, follow your healthcare provider's advice.
• Consider leaving the area if smoke levels are hazardous and you have heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions. Otherwise, please wait to be directed to evacuate. Pay attention to evacuation notices. If you choose to leave the area, remember to take face coverings and hand sanitizer with you to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Smoke levels can change rapidly depending on weather. Check current conditions by visiting DEQ's Air Quality Index or the Oregon Smoke Information Blog , downloading the free OregonAIR app on your smartphone, or going to on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Air Now.
Do not rely on masks for protection. Paper "comfort" or "dust" masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from smoke. There are also specially designed air filters worn on the face called respirators. These must be fitted, tested and properly worn to protect against wildfire smoke. People who do not properly wear their respirator may gain a false sense of security. If you choose to wear a respirator, select an "N95" respirator, and make sure you find someone who has been trained to help you select the right size, test the seal and teach you how to use it. It may offer some protection if used correctly. For more information about effective masks, see the Respirator Fact Sheet provided by CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
FOREST OFFICIALS TO BAN ALL CAMPFIRES ON FEDERALLY MANAGED PUBLIC LANDS BEGINNING FRIDAY
Central Oregon – Forest officials for the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland and the Prineville District Bureau of Land Management will implement a complete ban on all campfires and propane fire pits on all federally managed public lands and raise the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) to IV effective Friday, September 11 at 12:01 a.m.
With multiple human caused starts in the past several days while firefighters battle numerous large fires in Oregon, in addition to the EXTREME fire danger in Central Oregon, the decision was made to ban all active flames from campfires and propane fire pits. This is a change from previous Public Use Restrictions where campfires were allowed in designated campgrounds. Camp stoves used specifically for cooking are still allowed on public lands.
An IFPL Level IV or "General Shutdown" means that all industrial operations (thinning and logging) are prohibited. No waivers will be granted for any activity. Personal use firewood cutting remains prohibited under this level.
Fire officials encourage the public to be diligent with all ignition sources on public lands, ensuring all cigarette butts are properly extinguished in an ashtray or dish of water and spark arrestors are in place on all motorized equipment. Additionally, all motorized recreationists should park in areas cleared of vegetation – the undercarriage of a vehicle can be hot enough to start a fire. Also, officials want to remind the public that using explosive target material, such as Tannerite, and the use of explosives and fireworks continues to be prohibited on all federal public lands.
For more information on wildfires in Central Oregon, visit: www.centraloregonfire.org
BEND FIRE DEPARTMENT CLOSING ALL RECREATIONAL FIRES
With the recent wildfire events across the state of Oregon and extreme strain on our local fire resources, Bend Fire & Rescue has placed a ban on all recreational fires, effective immediately. This is in conjunction with Redmond Fire & Rescue and other local, state and federal agencies. The burning ban will be in place until further notice.
Recreational fires include those used for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth, or similar purposes. Barbeques and propane fires are still allowed.
For more information about burn regulations in Bend please visit www.bendoregon.gov/burninginfo.
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