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September 24, 2017
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Watch for Rising and Falling Smoke Levels in Jackson County

  • 24 August 2017
  • Author: Tanya Phillips
  • Number of views: 1281
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Watch for Rising and Falling Smoke Levels in Jackson County

Medford, OR – Jackson County health officials and DEQ want to remind Jackson County residents to watch for smoke levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups. It is important for people to be observant of the air quality during the wildfire season, smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly depending on weather factors including wind direction.

 

During a wildfire smoke event, Jackson County health officials and DEQ advise residents to take the following precautions:

 

  • Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with highest concentrations.
  • Avoid smoke either by leaving the area or protecting yourself by staying indoors, and by closing windows and doors
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions.
  • People exposed to smoky conditions and who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers.

     

    Check DEQ’s Air Quality Index to see real-time air monitoring data from monitors placed around Oregon http://www.oregon.gov/deq/aq/Pages/Air-Quality-Monitoring.aspx. Keep in mind that monitoring locations are limited, pollution levels may be higher in some areas, and wildfire smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly.

     

    Conduct a visual assessment: People can conduct a visual assessment of nearby smoke to quickly get a sense of air quality levels by using the 5-3-1 index.  Residents will want to determine the limit of their visual range by looking for distant targets or familiar land marks, such as mountains, buildings, and hills at a known distance.  The visual range is that point at which these targets are no longer visible.  Once a distance has been determined, follow the guidance below:

     

    If under 5 miles: The air quality is unhealthy for young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness. These people should minimize outdoor activity.

     

    If under 3 miles: The air quality is unhealthy for everyone. Young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness should avoid all outdoor activities.

     

    If under 1 mile: The air quality is very unhealthy, and in some cases may be hazardous. Everyone should avoid all outdoor activities.

     

    If visibility is well over five miles, the air quality is generally good. No matter how far you can see, if someone feels that they are having health effects from the wildfire smoke exposure, they should take extra care to stay inside or get to an area with better air quality.  They should also see their doctor or health professional as needed.

     

 

 

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