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Reminder: Rely on the Experts, Reputable Sites for Your Air Quality Data

We wanted to remind you when you’re checking air quality conditions to make sure you’re checking the map on this site, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Index* or EPA’s AirNow . Those sites all use data from DEQ air quality monitors or in the case of Lane County from the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency. Please also bookmark the sites under the Air Quality Now and Air Quality Forecasting tabs above to ensure you are looking at credible sites.

Why are we providing this reminder? Because at least a few of you have noticed some pretty alarming graphics circulating and a website that shows hazardous or very unhealthy air quality levels across wide areas. The ones we saw put air quality levels in Medford far higher than they have been this season and we can see why they would give someone pause.

While we had some very unhealthy and even hazardous air quality readings this week in the Rogue Valley, those graphics didn’t include accurate air quality data from DEQ.

We’re not sure how widespread this inaccurate information has been circulated, but we know they have worried at least a few of our readers and a number of folks have reached out to DEQ. We wanted to make sure you knew that misleading information was out there.

Red flags to look for: the primary pollutant in wildfire smoke is particulate matter, not ozone. DEQ and EPA are .gov sites, while other sites tend to have .org or .com. (Please consider this multi-agency smoke blog, which is a .com, an exception.)

*DEQ’s Air Quality Index is also on your smart phone. Just search for OregonAir in your app store. The vendor is EnviTech so you will see their name too. A screenshot is below.