Smoky haze compounds health concerns during Portland heat wave - KPTV - FOX 12

Smoky haze compounds health concerns during Portland heat wave

Posted: Updated: Aug 03, 2017 09:29 PM

Smoke from wildfires in Canada are blanketing the skies over the Portland metro, and state air monitors consider it unhealthy enough that some local activities have been canceled to keep people safe.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Southwest Clean Air Agency and the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency issued an advisory on the air quality in Portland metro area, along with much of the rest of the Willamette Valley.

While the super hazy air has made for some stunning views, such as the red sunrise seen Thursday morning, local doctors said they are concerned for anyone with pre-existing conditions like asthma and groups susceptible to respiratory issues, like the elderly and children, and advise them to think twice about spending time outside.

"We're essentially unhealthy right now, so I’d say if you have chronic illnesses, or a lung disease like asthma, what I would do is probably hold off,” Dr. Aaron Burchfield, Emergency Physician with Providence Portland, explained. “If you want to get some light to moderate exercise, try to be inside, in air conditioning or in a gym, but I wouldn't recommend it outside right now.”

Some area residents headed out to enjoy the beaches on Sauvie Island as a way to deal with the hot weather, but local farmer Don Kruger told FOX 12 he's not taking any chances.

Kruger Farms holds summer concerts that in the past filled their lawn spaces with people. Thursday night the grounds will be empty, though, after Kruger decided to cancel the event due to the excessive heat and the thick haze.

“Today it's more smoke,” Kruger explained. “The smoke seems really bad. And I did not anticipate the smoke issue because it's certainly there today. I think air quality is certainly quite poor.”

Kruger said he also operates a farm camp during the summer where kids can play pick and enjoy fruit and other outdoor activities but had to adjust that as well to keep the kids healthy and safe.

“We're going to do a lot of indoor stuff today,” he said. “I think for a little while we're fine this morning, but, yeah, indoor stuff later, in the air conditioning.”

The hot, hazy weather also led Portland Parks and Rec to close outdoor city pools early Thursday. PPR officials also said the facilities would remain closed all day Friday.

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