Skip to main content

Smoke & Health

General information
Frequently Asked Questions about Wildfire Smoke and Public Health – Learn more about why wildfire smoke affects health and steps you can take to protect yourself and family.

Wildfires and Air Quality – This webpage from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality provides resources on wildfires and air quality including how to assess smoke levels near you and information on how wildfire smoke affects health.

Using Visibility to Estimate Health Effects – Learn how to make visual observations using the 5-3-1 visibility index, a simple way of estimating smoke levels and what precautions to take.

How to protect yourself
Wildfire Preparedness  Learn about current wildfires, wildfire smoke conditions, and what you can do to reduce the health effects of wildfire smoke from the Oregon Health Authority.

Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke – Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on who is at greatest risk from wildfire smoke and steps you can take to decrease your risk from wildfire smoke. 

Smoke and COVID-19: Information about wildfire smoke and COVID-19 from the USDA-Forest Service.

For educators and parents
Public Health Guidance: School Outdoor Activities During Wildfire Events – A useful guide for teachers, parents, coaches and others during wildfire season.

These guidelines, created in consultation with the Oregon Health Authority, provide a default policy to those responsible or sharing duties for making decisions concerning the cancellation, suspension, and/or restarting of practices and contests based on poor air quality.

For animal owners
Your pets can be affected by wildfire smoke. Smoke can irritate your pet’s eyes and respiratory tract. Animals with heart or lung disease and older pets are especially at risk from smoke and should be closely watched during all periods of poor air quality, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA and the American Veterinary Association have guidance for pet owners and owners of large animals and livestock.

For workers
Wildfires: Addressing Worker Concerns  Tips, information, links and contacts from Oregon OSHA.

Respirator Safety – Training video from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

For agencies
Oregon Wildfire Response Protocol for Severe Smoke Episodes  – The protocol provides guidance for the state and federal agencies in Oregon who respond to severe smoke episodes caused by large or long-duration wildfires, to ensure a coordinated response in order to mitigate impacts on public health.

Wildfire Smoke - Guidance for Public Health Agencies - This guide, which was revised in 2016, is designed to help local public health officials prepare for smoke events, to take measures to protect the public when smoke is present, and communicate with the public about wildfire smoke and health.

The Milli Fire outside Sisters, August 2017.