ASHLAND, Ore. — Ahead of what the city expects to be smoky wildfire season, Ashland is preparing to help the most "smoke-vulnerable" residents.
They are doing that with air purifiers.
Using an $85,000 grants from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the City of Ashland plans to purchase around 400 HEPA-grade air purifiers.
"We're targeting people on the older end of the spectrum who we know are sensitive to smoke and specifically trying to target the people who may not have the financial means to purchase these units," Ashland Fire & Rescue's Wildfire Division Chief Chris Chambers said.
The air purifiers the city plans on purchasing cost around $140-150 each. The city will work with local organizations to determine which residents are most in need of their own air purifier, according to Chambers. People should not call to apply for the units. Those identified as most in need will, instead, be contacted by the city.
In addition to the air purifiers, the grant will be used to upgrade the air filtration systems a few public spaces to create what Chambers called "clean air refuges." These will allow Ashland residents to get out of their homes and go to a public building with clean air.