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August 12, 2015: DEQ urges East Oregonians to protect themselves from wildfire smoke

Smoke from multiple wildfires in region could be heading to parts of NE and SE Oregon (Contact Larry Calkins, Air Quality Program, Pendleton, cell: 503-752-9374)

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and local health officials are urging people in northeast and southeast Oregon to take precautions as smoke from multiple fires is drifting into these parts of the state. Unhealthy smoke levels could occur today in Baker, Harney, Malheur, Union and Wallowa counties.
Depending on weather conditions, smoke from these fires can drift into communities and quickly cause unhealthy air quality. Should smoke events occur, people should take the following precautions to avoid breathing problems or other symptoms from smoke:
·         Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid places with the highest concentrations.
·         Avoid smoke either by leaving the area or protecting yourself by staying indoors, closing all windows and doors and using a filter in your heating/cooling system that removes very fine particulate matter.
·         Avoid strenuous outdoor activity.
·         For people suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems, follow breathing management plans or contact healthcare providers.
Local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly, depending on weather factors including wind direction. People can conduct visual assessment of smoke levels to quickly get a sense of air quality levels and take precautions. If people have additional concerns, they should contact the nearest regional or local public health agency for the latest in health conditions from smoke.
For more information about local conditions:
·         Visit the Oregon Smoke Blog at for more information about active fires and air quality. The blog includes tools to help people assess smoke levels in their area.
·         Tune to local radio and TV stations and the Weather Channel in affected areas to get the latest fire information and weather reports.
·         Obtain a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio receiver, which alerts you 24 hours a day to hazards in your area.