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'Air quality advisory' issued for Jackson, Klamath, and Lake counties due to California wildfire smoke

Wildfire smoke from fires burning in California has prompted the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to issue an air quality advisory.

Posted: Aug 24, 2020 11:28 AM
Updated: Aug 24, 2020 12:00 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Jackson, Klamath, and Lake counties are now under an "air quality advisory" from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) due to smoke creeping north from wildfires in California.

"With the current weather patterns and wildfire activity in California, Jackson County will see intermittent levels of smoke that are moderate and unhealthy for sensitive groups," Jackson County said in a statement. "Ashland may experience higher levels of smoke than other parts of the county."

At this time, the advisory will last through at least Wednesday, according to the DEQ.

In Klamath County, air quality has already reached "Unhealthy" levels under the DEQ's air quality monitoring system, with Lakeview listed as "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups." As of Monday morning, air quality was still "Moderate" throughout Jackson County.

"People need to be observant of the air quality during this wildfire season; smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly depending on weather factors, including wind direction," Jackson County continued. "The overlap of the COVID-19 pandemic with wildfire season in the United States complicates public health response to wildfire smoke."

Public health officials say that wildfire smoke contains a mixture of air pollutants that are harmful to human health. Exposure to those pollutants can irritate the lungs, cause inflammation, alter immune function, and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. Some recent scientific studies have suggested that air pollution can worsen COVID-19 symptoms and outcomes.

Populations known to be vulnerable to wildfire smoke exposures include:

  • Children less than 18 years;
  • Adults age 65 years or older;
  • Pregnant women;
  • People with chronic health conditions such as heart or lung disease, including asthma and diabetes;
  • Outdoor workers;
  • People of low socioeconomic status, including those who are homeless and with limited access to medical care.
  • People who have had COVID-19 and are recovering from the virus

During a wildfire smoke event, Jackson County Public Health Officials advise people to take the following precautions:

  • Understand that your planning may be different this year because of the need to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
  • Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area
  • Avoid smoke by staying indoors, and by closing windows and doors
  • Avoid physical activity in smoky conditions
  • Use air conditioning and air filter or cleaners, creating a cleaner air space inside a home.
  • People exposed to smoky conditions and who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers.
  • It is currently not recommended to use N95 or P100 respirators to prevent smoke exposure, because these particulate respirators are in short supply and are needed by healthcare workers responding to COVID-19. The best way to reduce your exposure to wildfire smoke is to stay indoors.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 214869

Reported Deaths: 2836
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41288617
Washington27471257
Marion24180329
Clackamas19603240
Lane14464171
Jackson12195151
Deschutes1035787
Umatilla918292
Linn607281
Yamhill496981
Klamath490279
Douglas423587
Polk421556
Josephine395874
Malheur365067
Benton338722
Jefferson245642
Coos226839
Columbia204732
Union159024
Lincoln151122
Wasco149831
Crook136824
Hood River124634
Morrow120317
Clatsop111810
Baker105717
Curry75512
Tillamook7285
Grant5577
Lake4848
Harney45111
Wallowa2086
Gilliam841
Sherman772
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3894556

Reported Deaths: 64228
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles127625424623
San Bernardino3040755236
Riverside3040604657
San Diego2906253793
Orange2787205141
Santa Clara1217672099
Sacramento1128961770
Kern1123181417
Fresno1036371736
Alameda939531272
Ventura829751041
San Joaquin760341446
Contra Costa74030830
Stanislaus650191085
Tulare50104854
Monterey44273524
San Mateo43880588
San Francisco38954561
Solano35193259
Santa Barbara35189465
Merced32814484
Sonoma31965328
Imperial28996745
Placer24530304
Kings23366248
San Luis Obispo21717264
Madera16885249
Santa Cruz16452207
Marin14589238
Yolo14574214
Butte12982203
Shasta12804242
El Dorado10774120
Napa1025281
Sutter9965115
Yuba681651
San Benito622963
Lassen586826
Tehama581566
Nevada518375
Humboldt489753
Mendocino457150
Tuolumne433473
Lake396364
Amador381648
Siskiyou252740
Glenn245727
Colusa233918
Calaveras227958
Del Norte15518
Inyo145338
Mono13125
Plumas7626
Modoc5737
Mariposa4857
Trinity4486
Sierra1240
Alpine890
Unassigned440
Medford
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 100° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 80°
Brookings
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 64°
Crater Lake
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 80°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
81° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 80°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 78°
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