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News Release: DEQ issues air quality advisory for Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake counties

Medford, Ore.—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air quality advisory for Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake counties, as wildfire smoke continues to affect large portions of Southwest Oregon.
Air quality advisories issued earlier in the week for Portland, portions of Northeastern Oregon and the Willamette Valley have expired because conditions have improved there.

Poor air quality has lingered in much of Southwest Oregon since mid-July. While smoke levels may rise and fall, air quality is expected to be a concern for some time due to weather and fire conditions. Air quality conditions were unhealthy for sensitive groups on Friday morning in Medford, Ashland and Lakeview and unhealthy in Shady Cove, Chiloquin and Klamath Falls.

Local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly. Residents can view current air quality conditions at DEQ’s Air Quality Index The index is also available on smart phones. Simply search for OregonAir in your app store.

The Oregon Smoke Blog also has an air quality map that includes temporary monitors close to specific fires, daily smoke forecasts for specific areas, and other resources. Visit the Oregon Smoke Blog for more information:    

The color-coded Air Quality Index ranks air quality as follows: Green is good. Yellow is moderate, which is unhealthy for extremely sensitive groups. Orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with respiratory conditions. Red is unhealthy for everyone. Purple is very unhealthy for all groups. Maroon is hazardous.

People can take the following precautions:

- Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with highest concentrations.

- Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions.

- If you have heart disease, asthma or other respiratory ailments, or are over 65, you have a higher risk of illness from wildfire smoke.

- Small children and pregnant women are also at increased risk. These residents are encouraged to stay indoors.

- People suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers.

Oregon's monitoring network does not capture air quality conditions in all communities so it is important for residents to gauge air quality conditions where they live and take appropriate actions to protect themselves.