Air quality advisory issued for all of Oregon and southwest Washington due to wildfires

Image from Air 12/KPTV

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - An air quality advisory has been issued for all of Oregon and southwest Washington due to the wildfires burning throughout the region.

The advisory was issued Thursday by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Lane Regional Air Protection Agency and the Southwest Washington Clean Air Agency.

The air quality advisory is expected to last until at least Monday afternoon.

Areas closest to fires – such as Salem, Eugene, the Rouge Valley and Roseburg in Oregon, and Woodland in Washington – are having the worst smoke impacts.

Multiple areas were listed as being in a hazardous zone on Thursday afternoon.

Air quality map - 3:45 p.m. Thursday

Air quality map at 3:45 p.m. Thursday - Oregon DEQ

An air quality map is located at Oregon.envi-das.com.

The Portland-Vancouver area will likely have air quality worsen beginning Thursday evening or Friday, according to DEQ. Air quality will also likely worsen in central and eastern Oregon starting Thursday. The Oregon coast may see a little air quality improvement starting on Sunday, according to DEQ.

Smoke can irritate the eyes and lungs and worsen some medical conditions. Young children, adults over 65, pregnant women and people with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions are most at risk.

Protect your health when smoke levels are high, per the DEQ:

• 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 easy to follow instructions: DIY air filter factsheet.

• 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.

Health officials said cloth, dust and surgical masks don’t protect from the harmful particles in smoke. N95 respirators that are tested to ensure proper fit and that are worn correctly may provide protection. Otherwise, they might just provide a false sense of security, according to DEQ. They are not available in children’s sizes and are not recommended for strenuous activities. N95 respirators are in limited supply due to COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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