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Wildfire Smoke Inhalation Prevention Information - Rowena Fire

Date: August 7, 2014
To: All Media
From: Teri Thalhofer RN, BSN, Director
North Central Public Health District
Subject: Wildfire Smoke – Rowena Fire


Wildfire Smoke Inhalation Prevention Information

The Rowena Fire burning along Highway 30, near The Dalles, Oregon has grown to 1900 acres. Hot, dry, and unstable weather will likely result in heightened fire activity and increased smoke production. Wasco County health officials are providing the following information to help local residents proactively avoid illness from wildfire smoke inhalation.

People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children, are advised to stay indoors. Poor air quality conditions are a health threat and should be avoided by all residents in smoky communities. Remember, local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly depending on weather factors, including wind direction.

Take the following precautions to avoid breathing problems or other symptoms from smoke:

1. Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area.
2. Avoid outdoor exertion during such conditions. Avoid strenuous outdoor activity including sports practice, work and recreation.
3. Drink lots of water - staying hydrated can keep your airways moist which will help reduce symptoms of
respiratory irritation such as scratchy throat, running nose and coughing.
4. Try to avoid driving in smoky areas. If you do need to drive in these areas, keep your windows rolled up and vents closed. If you need air conditioning, make sure you set your system on “re-circulate” to avoid bringing smoke into your car.
5. Avoid smoke by staying indoors, closing all windows and doors and use a filter in your heating/cooling system that removes very fine particulate matter.
6. People with concerns about health issues, including those suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems, should follow their breathing management plans; keep medications on hand, and contact healthcare providers if necessary.

Helpful links:
Oregon Smoke blog, for the latest on fires and air quality across the state
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet about the health threats from wildfire smoke
DEQ's Wildfire smoke website
OHA wildfires webpage

Please note that The American Red Cross has opened a shelter for residents displaced by the fire at Dry Hollow Elementary, 1314 East 19th St., The Dalles, Oregon. The American Red Cross would also like to remind residents that they can sign up for the American Red Cross Safe & Well program at the shelter or at to let family and friends know their current status. For information regarding the shelter please contact the American Red Cross at 888-680-1455.


(For more information, please contact North Central Public Health District at (541) 506-2600 or visit us on the web at