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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: 178110

Reported Deaths: 2468
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35509570
Washington23824229
Marion20503299
Clackamas15674204
Lane11854144
Jackson10123129
Umatilla800883
Deschutes736872
Linn425664
Yamhill415575
Klamath362559
Polk350352
Malheur343558
Josephine311762
Douglas307066
Benton280219
Jefferson208332
Coos199231
Columbia157526
Union142024
Wasco132028
Lincoln131220
Hood River114029
Morrow108515
Clatsop9118
Crook90719
Baker88114
Curry6069
Tillamook5893
Grant4314
Lake4197
Harney3156
Wallowa1585
Gilliam571
Sherman571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3727913

Reported Deaths: 61309
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123039823736
Riverside2977704555
San Bernardino2953154572
San Diego2759123684
Orange2693524910
Santa Clara1175382025
Kern1081311335
Sacramento1019061653
Fresno1008381654
Alameda857621481
Ventura803981002
San Joaquin718991340
Contra Costa67300782
Stanislaus606771035
Tulare49469831
Monterey43346380
San Mateo41318560
San Francisco36194529
Santa Barbara33926445
Solano32126244
Merced31321454
Sonoma29747318
Imperial28052719
Kings22825246
Placer21979283
San Luis Obispo21038260
Madera16309240
Santa Cruz15759204
Marin13883227
Yolo13606205
Shasta11779219
Butte11643196
El Dorado9831109
Napa973779
Sutter9322110
Yuba613844
San Benito599863
Lassen568524
Tehama545957
Nevada450575
Tuolumne409164
Mendocino399847
Humboldt369738
Amador363247
Lake342143
Glenn236125
Colusa220816
Calaveras206652
Siskiyou197921
Inyo141938
Del Norte12927
Mono12744
Plumas6976
Modoc4924
Mariposa4317
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned680
Medford
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 41°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 40°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 41°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 41°
Klamath Falls
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 23°
Turning cooler and wetter this weekend
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