This just in from Lane Regional Air Protection Agency:
Contact: Sally Markos, 736-1056, ext. 217 Lane County Media: 12-9
Smoke from Area Wildfires Pushes Air Quality into Moderate Range
The Buckhead and Evangeline wildfires near Oakridge grew larger over the weekend and smoke has made its way into the Eugene/Springfield area. As a result, air quality has reached the moderate range. The smoke, combined with hot temperatures forecasted for later in the week, will make conditions uncomfortable for some residents.
“Until the fires are contained, we will see periodic intrusions of smoke into the valley,” says Sally Markos, spokesperson for the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA). LRAPA’s air quality monitors in Springfield and south Eugene detected higher levels of particle pollution on Saturday evening. The levels have slowly increased over the last 24 hours. Pollution levels peak just after midnight as drainage winds, which follow the rivers valleys from the foothills, bringing smoke into the valley. Although the winds typically shift to a more northernly direction after sunrise, low wind speeds have not had enough impact to clear the smoke.
Fine particles, also called particulate, are a major component of wood smoke and are especially harmful because they are inhaled deep into the lungs and can enter the bloodstream. Individuals with asthma, respiratory problems, or heart disease are advised to curtail vigorous activity when air quality deteriorates. Residents experiencing health problems associated with the smoke and heat are encouraged to consult with their doctors.
LRAPA will be monitoring conditions over the next few days and will provide updates as warranted. The public can track hourly particulate levels and the Air Quality Index by logging onto the LRAPA website at www. LRAPA.org.