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Fire Alert

DEQ issues air quality advisory for Central Oregon through noon Saturday

C.O. wildfires air quality 8-22
KTVZ file
The Cascades appear through a haze from wildfire smoke

Wildfires bring more unhealthy air

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality expanded and extended an air quality advisory Thursday to Central Oregon and other areas due to smoke from wildfires in California and Oregon.

The updated advisory covers Central Oregon and Harney County, as well as Southwest Oregon and South Central Oregon. DEQ has extended the advisory through noon Saturday.

The following areas are under air quality advisories:
• Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties, as well as the Warm Springs Reservation, through noon Saturday. Smoke is coming from the Lionshead Fire and wildfires in California.

• Harney County through noon Saturday. Smoke is coming from wildfires in California.

• Josephine, Jackson, Klamath and Lake counties, as well as Eastern Douglas County, through noon Saturday. Smoke is primarily coming from wildfires in California. The Slater Fire in Southern Oregon and Northern California also continues to produce smoke.

As of early Thursday afternoon, the E::Spaces air quality index on the KTVZ.COM weather page showed most of the High Desert was in the "unhealthy for sensitive groups" category, though a measurement in west Bend was in the "unhealthy" category, as were monitor readings in Sunriver, La Pine and Crooked River Ranch.

The DEQ said smoke will most likely be thickest at night and in the mornings, with some afternoon clearing. Communities near active wildfires may see localized effects on air quality.

Air quality in the Willamette Valley is expected to be in the good or moderate range during the time of this air quality advisory.

DEQ said it and partner agencies will continue to monitor smoke levels in these areas and air quality across the state.

Smoke levels can change rapidly, depending on the weather. Check current conditions by visiting the Oregon Smoke Information Blog , downloading the free OregonAIR app on your smartphone, or going to on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Now website.

Smoke can irritate the eyes and lungs and worsen some medical conditions. Young children, adults over 65, pregnant women and people with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions are most at risk.

Protect your health when smoke levels are high:
• Avoid outdoor activities and stay inside if possible. Keep windows and doors closed.
• Be aware of smoke in your area and avoid places with the highest levels.
• Use high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These can be portable filters or can be installed in indoor heating, ventilation, cooling and air purification systems. You can also create your own air purifying filter by following these easy DIY air filter instructions .
• If you have heart or lung disease or asthma, follow your healthcare provider’s advice.

Cloth, dust and surgical masks don’t protect from the harmful particles in smoke. N95 respirators that are tested to ensure proper fit and that are worn correctly may provide protection. Otherwise, they might just provide a false sense of security. They are not available in children’s sizes and are not recommended for strenuous activities. N95 respirators are in limited supply due to COVID-19. Additional information on wildfire smoke and COVID-19 can be found on the Centers for Disease Control webpage .

DEQ’s color-coded Air Quality Index provides current air quality conditions and ranks air quality as follows: Green is good. Yellow is moderate. Orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups such as children, seniors, pregnant women and those with respiratory conditions. Red is unhealthy for everyone. Purple is very unhealthy for everyone. Maroon is hazardous.

Find more information: Oregon Smoke Blog

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