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Oregon wildfires: Air quality declines, high winds move to Willamette Valley

Oregon wildfires: Air quality declines, high winds move to Willamette Valley
Oregon wildfires: Air quality declines, high winds move to Willamette Valley

Oregon wildfires, the conditions in Oregon have only been worsening over time. Air quality has started declining due to the wildfires burning across the Pacific Northwest. Moreover, smoke and ash from the 20,600-acre Lionshead fire, burning near Mount Jefferson, and the Beachie Creek Fire, near Opal Creek, started entering the Willamette Valley on Monday. The air quality index in the valley states it to be “unhealthy for sensitive groups”. Many of the surrounding areas have been warned that evacuation can take place anytime soon.

Oregon wildfires : Areas that have been affected

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality has issued yet another warning for Central Oregon, the Portland Area, Willamette Valley, and the Columbia River Gorge as the smoke intensifies across the region. DEQ and its partner agencies have assured to keep tabs on the smoke in these areas. According to sources, the areas which have been affected are:

  • Portland Metro area – Danger from the wildfires in Oregon and Washington.
  • Central and Southern Willamette Valley – Danger from the fires in Lionshead and Beachie Creek
  • Hood River, Wasco, Gillam, and Sherman counties – Danger from wildfires in Washington.
  • Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook counties – Danger from the Lionshead fire and the wildfires in Washington.

Precautionary measures to be taken

In a news release, the DEQ said,

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.

Certain precautionary measures have been suggested by the officials:

  • Stay inside if possible. Keep windows and doors closed.
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity.
  • 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.
  • If you have heart or lung disease or asthma, follow your healthcare provider’s advice.

Unfortunately, covering your mouth with a cloth, scarf, or surgical mask is of no use as it fails to keep the harmful chemicals away. N-95 masks do seem to help. Although, they have their own limitations. So, to state facts, masks fail to provide security when it comes to facing smoke.

More information about the wildfires

As of today, more than 50 thousand areas have fallen victim to the wildfires. In certain areas where conditions are beyond control, Level 3 evacuation has been declared. This means that people in those areas have to evacuate immediately. However, in some other areas, Level 2 evacuation has been declared. This is just to spread awareness and ask people to be ready as they may have to evacuate at any given moment.

Additionally, the wildfires have been spreading rapidly. Containing them has become difficult. Due to this, the air quality is worsening further. As per the color-coded Air Quality Index by DEQ,

  • Green – Good
  • Yellow – Moderate
  • Orange – Unhealthy for sensitive groups
  • Red – Unhealthy for all
  • Purple – Very unhealthy for all
  • Maroon – Hazardous

About the author

Smrithi Arun

An enthusiastic media student who is passionate about film-making and writing

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