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Wildfire smoke has brought Oregon record-poor air quality, DEQ reports

Bend smoke
Wildfire smoke as encountered Monday by drivers in southeast Bend

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon is experiencing record-poor air quality from wildfire smoke across the state, according to analysis released Tuesday by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency.

Oregon air reached unhealthy or hazardous levels across the state last week on the Air Quality Index (AQI)โ€”which categorizes how clean the air is and lists associated health risks. Dense smoke is expected to remain throughout most of Oregon until at least Thursday.

DEQ and LRAPA compared recent and historical Air Quality Index information for Portland, Eugene, Bend, Medford and Klamath Falls. The AQI ranks air quality on a progressive five-step scale: goodmoderateunhealthyvery unhealthy or hazardous.

Preliminary analysis shows:

  • Record highs: All five cities exceeded previous daily records for poor air quality during wildfire season. Southern Oregon has previously seen extended periods of unhealthy and very unhealthy air quality, but Medford and Klamath Falls have also set records this year. All previous records were set in September 2017.
  • Hazardous days: Other than Medford, no city has previously experienced a hazardous air quality day since DEQ began monitoring. Medford had one day of hazardous air quality in both 2017 and 1987. Last week, Eugene had five hazardous days, Bend and Medford had three, Portland had two, and Klamath Falls had one.
  • Very unhealthy days: While Eugene, Bend, Medford and Klamath Falls have experienced very unhealthy days in previous years, Portland has never had a very unhealthy day. Last week, Portland had two very unhealthy days.

Find more information, graphics, and data on DEQ's Air, Land & Water blog.

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  1. As long as Demokrats continue their death grip on the state- this is your new normal ! The upside is- these living conditions make CO and the rest of Oregon extremely unattractive places to move to !

    Thanks Kate- I guess there is some good to come out of an air quality index defined as “Toxic”… and here I thought we only saw these kinds of conditions in Beijing !

  2. Wow the DEQ has a clue. Let the timber rot and burn. Canada loves to sell it to us. If these stupid politicians had a clue we would cut the timber and make thousands of jobs. Problem is liberals hate progress and are in bed with the environmentalists. Kate don’t know any better she came from Minnesota.

    1. In California state, the federal government owns nearly 58% of the 33 million acres of forest, according to the state governor’s office. The state itself owns just three per cent, with the rest owned by private individuals or companies or Native American groups.

      There’s a similar picture in Oregon, with significant proportions of forest land in federal rather than state hands, as well as under private ownership.

      And in Washington state, only 12% of forest land is in the hands of the state authorities, with 43% federally-owned and 36% in private hands.

  3. Barney, I was going to send you an email and ask this, but for some reason I’m having problems with mine.Is there a way to see which stories we have commented on ?
    My memory isn’t what it once was and I have a hard time remembering what I commented on,
    especially once a story is moved off the front page.

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