Jackson County health officials are encouraging Jackson County residents to watch for smoke levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups during wildfire smoke events. 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.
To decide if the air quality is healthy for you to be in, complete steps 1 and 2.
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. You can down load the app by searching OregonAir. 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. So you will want to also complete step 2.
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 landmarks, 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.