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November 15, 2018
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Watch for Rising and Falling Smoke Levels

Medford, OR – Due to the recent wildfire starts, Jackson County health officials 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. Persons with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions and cardiovascular disease, people older than 65 years of age, infants and children, pregnant women, and smokers are particularly sensitive to wildfire smoke.

 

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

  • Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with highest concentrations.
  • Stay indoors with doors and windows closed. This reduces exposure to particulate matter in the air.
    • Use air conditioning to keep your home cool if it becomes too warm.
    • Other sources of particles within the home should be reduced or eliminated: smoking, using gas, wood‐burning stoves or furnaces, aerosol sprays, frying or broiling meat, burning candles or incense, vacuuming.
    • High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters and Electro-static precipitator (ESP) filters can help provide protection.  These trap or remove harmful particles in the air.
  • When riding in a car, keep the windows and vents closed; turn the air conditioning on to recirculate.
  • 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 https://oraqi.deq.state.or.us/home/map, select the PM 2.5 tab on the map to see the PM 2.5 levels. 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.

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