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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.

Confirmed Cases: 30801

Reported Deaths: 526
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah6818130
Marion444790
Washington428958
Umatilla291341
Clackamas225661
Malheur152723
Jackson10394
Lane96415
Deschutes76912
Yamhill73814
Jefferson5138
Polk50215
Morrow4886
Lincoln47213
Linn46613
Union4352
Benton2856
Klamath2732
Hood River2450
Wasco2343
Douglas2093
Josephine1832
Columbia1541
Coos1380
Clatsop1170
Baker902
Crook601
Tillamook480
Lake280
Wallowa281
Curry270
Sherman180
Harney120
Gilliam80
Grant80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 786168

Reported Deaths: 15016
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2607976353
Riverside566811153
San Bernardino52471908
Orange520631128
San Diego44577760
Kern31379354
Fresno27668355
Sacramento21297375
Alameda20558374
Santa Clara20410296
San Joaquin19793414
Stanislaus16319335
Contra Costa15837199
Tulare15599256
Ventura12328143
Imperial11558314
San Francisco1074599
San Mateo9522143
Monterey946767
Santa Barbara8862110
Merced8750134
Kings728377
Sonoma7060114
Marin6557112
Solano608555
Madera429658
Placer346641
San Luis Obispo336927
Butte274835
Yolo274754
Santa Cruz22188
Sutter164210
Napa161413
San Benito130111
Yuba11187
El Dorado10684
Mendocino84918
Lassen7310
Shasta68714
Glenn5503
Colusa5096
Nevada5066
Tehama4984
Humboldt4826
Lake46510
Calaveras31114
Amador28616
Tuolumne2214
Inyo18714
Mono1652
Siskiyou1610
Del Norte1361
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc240
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 51°
Brookings
Overcast
56° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 56°
Crater Lake
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 40°
Grants Pass
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 48°
Klamath Falls
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 40°
Seasonal & hazy afternoon
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