BC wildfire smoke, smog trigger pollution advisory in Portland

Canadian smoke covers Portland area

PORTLAND, Ore. – A thick haze from wildfires in British Columbia lay over Portland Wednesday, obscuring visibility and impacting air quality during a triple-digit heat wave.

Thousands of people in British Columbia have been evacuated as more than 100 wildfires throughout western Canada threaten homes. Winds pushed the wildfire smoke south into the northwestern U.S. Tuesday.

The smoke moved farther into the Portland area throughout the day Wednesday.

“Air quality monitors in southwest Washington and Portland/Vancouver metro area have shown lowering air quality since Tuesday afternoon,” the National Weather Service said.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air pollution advisory for Portland, Vancouver, Salem, Eugene and Medford due to wildfire smoke and smog from hot weather.  The advisory is expected to last through Aug. 8.

“A number of active wildfires conducive to increasing ozone and particulate matter levels are expected to linger through next week,” the DEQ said in a press release. 

A fire is also burning in the Mt. Jefferson wilderness, but it is not impacting Portland air quality significantly. 

The air quality index in Portland was deemed by the DEQ as unhealthy for sensitive groups. People with respiratory problems, heart or lung disease, seniors and children should avoid heavy or prolonged exercise outside.

“These small particles are so small they can get down into the lungs and get into the blood stream,” said Dr. Richard Lehman, a public health physician with Oregon Health Authority. “When that happens that can lead to inflammation or irritation and if you’ve got underlying heart disease that can even trigger a heart attack.

“Kids have small airways,” Lehman added. “And if they get swelling in their airways it makes it tougher for them to breathe.”

The Oregon Health Authority also cautioned sensitive groups to stay inside and keep windows and doors closed, if possible, depending on heat. Keep the air quality clean by not frying or boiling food, which can add particles to indoor air. If you have to drive, run the air conditioner on “re-circulate” mode to keep smoky air from the car interior.

The smoke also impacted air quality in Clark County, Washington, officials said Wednesday afternoon. A pollution advisory has been issued for Southwest Washington and will likely continue through next week. 

The wildfires have caused air quality around Seattle to deteriorate to “among the worst in the country,” state officials told KGW’s sister station KING5

There is a silver lining. Temperatures were forecast to reach the mid-100s on Wednesday and Thursday in Oregon, but the weather service says if the smoke thickens it could cut temperatures by a couple of degrees.

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Source link : http://www.kgw.com/weather/bc-wildfire-smoke-impacts-portland-air-quality-driving-haze-into-the-region/461306608

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Publish date : 2 August 2017 | 10:50 pm

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