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News Release: DEQ issues air pollution advisory for Medford area

Medford, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air pollution advisory today for Jackson County due to elevated levels of ozone pollution combined with smoke from a number of wildfires that started over the weekend.

With triple-digit temperatures expected over the next few days, ozone could be a particular concern.

On Monday afternoon, an air quality monitor that tracks ozone in Talent was orange or unhealthy for sensitive groups. In Medford and Ashland, monitors that track particulate matter – the main ingredient in wildfire smoke – were yellow or moderate meaning the air quality was unhealthy for extremely sensitive groups.

DEQ and health officials recommend that children, pregnant women, asthma sufferers, those with lung or heart conditions and adults age 65 and older limit outdoor activity over the next few days.

While wildfire smoke conditions can change rapidly, ozone levels tend to be highest during afternoon and early evening.

Ozone, also known as smog, forms when hot temperatures and low winds combine with pollution from cars, gas-powered engines and chemicals in paints and aerosols.  

DEQ urges residents to protect their health and limit activities that cause pollution. Recommendations include:

  • ·         Limit driving by using public transit, carpooling or other alternative transportation
  • ·         Avoid unnecessary engine idling
  • ·         Refuel vehicles during cooler evening hours
  • ·         Don't use gas-powered mowers or yard equipment
  • ·         Don't paint or use aerosol sprays

Smog and particulate matter can irritate the eyes, nose and lungs, and contribute to breathing problems, reduced lung function and asthma.

Visit DEQ's Air Quality Index for current conditions: You can also download DEQ’s Air Quality Index mobile app. Simply search for OregonAir in your smart phone’s app store.

See the latest forecasts and advisories issued by the National Weather Service:

Contact: Katherine Benenati, Public Affairs Specialist, Eugene, 541-686-7997