DEQ issues air quality advisory for 6 Oregon counties as wildfire smoke lingers

Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 6:49 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Have you had some trouble breathing lately? Allergies? You’re not alone.

The DEQ released an air quality advisory this week and said it’s unusual to see such a widespread area being affected by smoke this late in the year. People we spoke with said they are noticing.

“You can see definite haze,” Jim Cowan, who is visiting Portland, said.

“I have asthma personally so it does have an impact on my breathing,” Michael Yun, a Portland resident, said.

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The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality advisory for six counties starting Monday. A spokesperson for the department said this widespread impact into October is unusual.

They said the lack of wind and rain coupled with the unseasonably warm weather is keeping the smoke from recent wildfires trapped in the air.

FOX 12 spoke with Dr. Shyam Joshi from OHSU who said smoke is an irritant that can impact anyone.

“I saw several patients down in Eugene, Corvallis area and their air quality is terrible right now,” Dr. Shyam Joshi, Section Chief of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), said.

Symptoms can look very similar to seasonal allergies and be even worse for those who are prone to allergies.

“It’s not just the nose, people can have shortness of breath, difficulty breathing,” Dr. Joshi said.

Dr. Joshi has some tips to help.

“Staying indoors when possible, if you are indoors get a HEPA filter, so an air purifier,” Dr. Joshi said.

If you do go outdoors, you can still minimize the problem.

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“When you come inside, wash your face, wash your hands, change clothing potentially to get any of those irritants and allergens off your body,” Dr. Joshi said.

Still, visitors like Jim said they are enjoying the area -- minus a bit of photo quality for the memories.

“The pictures are nice. I’ve been taking them with my camera, but even then there’s a lack of that clarity you usually get, that sparkle,” Jim said.

DEQ said the advisory is being issued through Friday and they will meet Friday morning to reassess the latest on air quality across the state. They recommend using the OregonAIR app to track air quality.