'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: 135142

Reported Deaths: 1832
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28678460
Washington18867175
Marion16394242
Clackamas11789138
Lane8467110
Jackson700485
Umatilla685671
Deschutes507339
Yamhill322846
Malheur316453
Linn314949
Polk249240
Klamath246944
Josephine178535
Benton174314
Jefferson171225
Douglas170943
Union112516
Wasco109123
Columbia105418
Lincoln100417
Hood River96121
Coos95215
Morrow94510
Clatsop6925
Crook62911
Baker5765
Tillamook3692
Curry3235
Lake2365
Grant2131
Harney1784
Wallowa973
Gilliam511
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3074812

Reported Deaths: 35060
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103873814416
San Bernardino2569141560
Riverside2510002676
San Diego2185552174
Orange2165092508
Santa Clara949051129
Kern87240572
Fresno83200968
Sacramento811831128
Alameda68649788
Ventura62774462
San Joaquin58843788
Contra Costa53349460
Stanislaus43121766
Tulare42186515
Monterey36464255
San Mateo32887309
San Francisco29502266
Solano25983107
Santa Barbara25405243
Imperial25333474
Merced24570316
Sonoma24184242
Kings19588148
Placer17490184
San Luis Obispo16056140
Madera13528151
Santa Cruz12461113
Marin11732159
Yolo10789138
Shasta9750123
Butte9528128
El Dorado788649
Sutter782879
Napa767244
Lassen519916
San Benito500346
Yuba499627
Tehama433244
Tuolumne340340
Nevada323474
Mendocino319232
Amador302431
Lake262531
Humboldt242725
Glenn194820
Colusa17969
Calaveras162123
Siskiyou145713
Mono11244
Inyo98329
Del Norte8672
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3044
Sierra820
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Medford
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Brookings
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