Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Update for klamath County Residents 8-26-2013
Klamath County has recently been experiencing good to low moderate levels of air quality. It is predicted that these good to low moderate levels of air quality will continue through the first week of September. No new air quality impacts from wildfire smoke are anticipated at this time, unless there are major new ignitions or if the Government Flats Complex continues to generate significant smoke.


The impacts of the Government Flats Complex will likely be confined to the east of the fires and local areas of poor ventilation in close proximity to the fires. This would have no impact on the Klamath Basin.


Air quality conditions can change quickly, if current or forecasted air quality conditions change we will update our blog accordingly. It is important to stay informed of current air quality conditions to protect yourself and your family. http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Klamath Basin should see much of the same through the weekend, with low moderate Air Quality levels early in the day and peeking to high moderate levels in afternoon and evening.

Station 10118 Wildfire AQI
Klamath Falls - Peterson School

Air Quality Rating:
Air Quality Index: 15
Critical Pollutant: PM2.5
Concentration: 12.2 µg/m3
Last Report: Aug 23 2013 7:00AM PDT
Information: Smoke in area. Wildfire Air Quality Rating (WAQR) used for PM2.5.
The Smoke forecast is provided by the Oregon Department of Forestry


Wildfire smoke dispersion depends on the stability of the atmosphere as well as wind direction and speed. A stable atmosphere holds smoke to the ground and an unstable atmosphere allows smoke to rise and dissipate. Smoke is typically mixed to higher altitudes during the afternoon, when daytime heating destabilizes the air mass. Conversely, smoke tends to settle near the ground and in drainages during the overnight and early morning hours.




An upper level low is moving northward today bringing clouds, showers, and thundershowers over the region. Already, moisture has moved over the fires in the SW part of the state. Showers and thundershowers will keep developing and may bring some light rain to the Government Flats Complex later this afternoon and evening. Wind flow is rather variable now but will increase from the SW to NW later this afternoon and evening. More smoke may move into The Dalles and Dufur this afternoon before wind flow turns more NW this evening.




Upper level low will “kick out” to the east overnight and early Friday leaving the region under dry SW flow aloft. Shower and thundershower activity will decrease. Brisk westerly flow will continue over the Government Flats Complex which may impact both The Dalles and Dufur. It’s possible the smoke may stay just south of The Dalles however. Most areas in SW Oregon should stay clear of any remaining smoke from fires in that area but it’s possible some smoke may move up from California and have minor impacts at higher elevation areas like Klamath Falls and Crater Lake.




An upper level trough will move in closer to the state from off the coast over the weekend and early next week bringing cooler temperatures and more clouds. East of the Cascades thunderstorms could develop again. However, under the cooler environment, more humid conditions and potential showers, fire starts are less likely. Also, fire activity from current fires should be reduced and lessen smoke impacts on downwind communities.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Weekend Forecast

 Smoke levels in Klamath are worsening largely as a result of the northern California fires. At 1PM, air quality conditions in Klamath are moderate. Smokey conditions are predicted to continue through Saturday, with improvement beginning on Sunday. 

Air quality conditions are predicted to be worse in the evenings, ranging between moderate and unhealthy levels. During the day, air quality conditions are predicted to be in moderate levels.

Stay informed of current air quality conditions by using a visibility assessment and checking the readings of our local monitor

Compare our Air

Image includes bar that shows color codes for Air Quality Index:  green for good, yellow for moderate, orange for unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy for red and purple for very unhealthy.
Ever wondered how the air quality in our city compare with other cities? What time of year has the best air quality? Has the air quality in our city improved? AirCompare provides local air quality information to help you make informed, health-protective decisions about moving or vacationing.
County Comparisons (Compare the air quality of counties within one or more states)
Summarize States (Choose up to 3 states)
Monthly Averages (Find the best time to visit)

Where is the best place in the United States to live to avoid air pollution? The best place to live may depend on whether you or your family have specific health concerns. People at greater risk from ground-level ozone are people with lung diseases, such as asthma, and children and adults who are active outdoors. At greatest risk from particle pollution are people with heart or lung disease, older adults (possibly because they may have undiagnosed heart or lung disease), and children. Learn more about how specific health concerns can affect the comparison. The links above provide health-specific air quality information in terms of the number of unhealthy days based on the Air Quality Index.

May 6, 2008 UPDATE: This site reflects the current Air Quality Index (AQI). The cut points for ozone were revised on March 12, 2008 along with the national ambient air quality standard for ozone. If you are a regular visitor to this site, you will notice the difference in the historical plots, specifically that there are more unhealthy days based on the revised ozone cut points. The current AQI does not yet account for the most recent PM2.5 standard which was revised on September 21, 2006.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Public Health Guidance for School Outdoor Activities During Wildfire Events

Check the local Air Quality Index (AQI) online at DEQ's website and do a visual inspection outside. Compare the AQI and visibility test to determine the current air conditions. Then, use the guide below to determine activity level for your kids and students.

You may get conflicting results when you compare the AQI to your visual inspection. If this happens, always err on the side of caution and follow the recommendations for the air quality level that correlates with the worse of the two assessments. 

Students with asthma action plans should follow them closely and monitor breathing and exposure to wildfire smoke. Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact a health care provider for further advice or call 911 in an emergency. 

Tuesday Morning Update

At 4AM, PM2.5 levels were 24.7 ug/m3.

Air quality conditions are Moderate.

Children, older adults, and people with heart or lung disease are most sensitive to PM2.5 at this time.

Keep informed of air quality conditions. If you don't have access to a computer or you think air quality conditions may be changing, use a visibility index. Click here to learn how.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

N95 Respirator/Masks

Smoke is a mixture of gases fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. One of the pollutants is known as Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5. PM2.5 is so small that several thousand of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence.

During periods of unhealthy air quality, wearing a NIOSH-certified N95 respirator will filter out some of the small particles that may be found in smoke, but only if there is a good fit. The mask will not filter out toxic gases and vapors. The best way to protect yourself is to limit your exposure to smoke.

If you have a respirator, watch this video to make sure you are wearing your NIOSH-certified N95 respirator correctly.

Many local drug and hardware stores such as Big R carry NIOSH-certified N95 respirators.
Dust or paper masks will not protect against the smoke, you must use a NIOSH-certified N95 respirator. This certification will be clearly stated on the box. 

Klamath County Public Health and American Red Cross will be distributing masks TONIGHT (8/13) from 6:00PM to 7:00PM @ the Center for Occupational Health (2621 Crosby Avenue).

People with heart or respiratory diseases should only use a mask under a doctor’s supervision.

Wildfires, Air Quality, & Your Health

The best thing to do is to limit your exposure to smoke.

· Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors. This can usually provide some protection, especially in a tightly closed, air conditioned house. Set your A/C to recycle or recirculate, when at home or in your car, to limit your exposure.  

· Reduce the amount of time engaged in vigorous outdoor activity.  This can be an important and effective way to lower the amount of smoke you are breathing in and can minimize health risks during a smoke event.

· Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

· Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution such as burning cigarettes, candles, gas, propane and wood burning stoves and furnaces, and vacuuming.

· Check current air quality conditions. Visit DEQ's website to check current smoke levels.

· Individuals with heart and lung disease or other respiratory illnesses such as asthma should follow their health care provider’s advice about prevention and treatment of symptoms

Tuesday Smoke Forecast

A dry and stable southwesterly flow aloft should bring sunshine and warmer temperatures statewide. The threat of thunderstorms is minimal and confined mainly to higher terrain near the Idaho border. 

Good daytime mixing should continue to generally improve air quality across the state, unless existing wildfires become more active or new fires begin producing significant amounts of smoke. Northwesterly low-level winds will continue to send at least some smoke into communities to the south through east of wildfires in SW Oregon. 

Light southwesterly winds are expected across south-central Oregon with light winds across eastern Oregon. Air quality in those regions is not expected to be significantly impacted by wildfire smoke.

The Air Quality in Klamath County for today is expected to be from Low Moderate to High Moderate levels.

If you experience symptoms like coughing or shortness of breath while outdoors, you may need to take it easier. 

If you have asthma, check out this important information from the EPA. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Air Quality Forecast

The upper air disturbance that has been influencing our weather this last week remains along the coast, but has finally drifted to our north, resulting in a push of marine air into our region today.  As the air warms up this afternoon, the possibility of thunderstorms still exists.  The moist air has also reduced the amount of fire activity and the associated produced smoke at all three major burn areas (Big Windy, Douglas and Whiskey Complexes).  However, conditions are expected to dry out over the next few days.  Scheduled burnouts to reduce chances of fire spread outside containment lines will lead to smokier conditions once again.

For more information visit www.oregonsmoke.blogspot.com

For hourly information on air quality conditions in Oregon visit http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx

Monday Morning Update

Air quality conditions are Moderate this morning.

While it is still a good day to be outside, people who are usually sensitive to air pollution could have symptoms. Watch for coughing or shortness of breath, these are signs to take it easier.

Have kids? Check the CDC's air quality and outdoor activity guidance.

Station 10118Wildfire AQI
Klamath Falls - Peterson School

Air Quality Rating:
Air Quality Index:55
Critical Pollutant:PM 2.5
Concentration:14 µg/m3
Last Report:Aug 12 2013 8:00AM PDT
Information:Smoke in area. Wildfire Air Quality Rating (WAQR) used for PM 2.5.

Friday, August 9, 2013

8:00AM Update - Good air quality

Now is a good time to mow the lawn, walk the dog, or enjoy other outdoor activities. Current air quality conditions are good, but air quality conditions can change quickly and frequently.

Station 10118Wildfire AQI
Klamath Falls - Peterson School

Air Quality Rating:
Air Quality Index:41
Critical Pollutant:PM 2.5
Concentration:9.8 µg/m3
Last Report:Aug 9 2013 8:00AM PDT
Information:Smoke in area. Wildfire Air Quality Rating (WAQR) used for PM 2.5.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Air Quality Conditions

Klamath County experienced brief relief from smokey conditions today. Current air quality conditions remain good.

It is important to remember that air quality conditions can change quickly and frequently. Stay informed of current smoke concentrations by visiting our blog or DEQ's website, and remember to avoid outdoor activities during poor air quality times.

Station 10118Wildfire AQI
Klamath Falls - Peterson School

Air Quality Rating:
Air Quality Index:46
Critical Pollutant:PM 2.5
Concentration:11.2 µg/m3
Last Report:Aug 8 2013 4:00PM PDT
Information:Smoke in area. Wildfire Air Quality Rating (WAQR) used for PM 2.5.

How to Protect Your Family from the Health Effects of Smoke

Pay attention to local air quality reports and stay alert to any news coverage or health warnings related to smoke.

Use common sense. If it looks smoky outside, it's probably not a good time to mow the lawn or go for a run. And it's probably not a good time for your children to play outdoors.

Stay indoors during poor air quality times, take steps to keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep your windows and doors closed - unless it's extremely hot outside.

Check and stay informed on current air quality conditions. The AQI (air quality index), based on data from local air quality monitors, tells you about the daily air quality in your area and recommends precautions you can take to protect your health. As smoke gets worse, the concentration of particles in the air changes - and so do the steps you should take to protect yourself. Visit DEQ's website or HealthyKlamath.org for local forecast and conditions.

Run your air conditioner, if you have one. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. Note: If you don't have an air conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in extremely hot weather. In these cases, seek alternative shelter.

Help keep particle levels inside lower. When smoke levels are high, try to avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves - and even candles! Don't vacuum. That stirs up particles already inside your home. And don't smoke. That puts even more pollution in your lungs, and in the lungs of people around you.If you have asthma or other lung disease, make sure you follow your doctor's directions about taking your medicines and following your asthma management plan. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.

If you have heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have children, talk with your doctor about whether and when you should leave the area. When smoke is heavy for a prolonged period of time, fine particles can build up indoors even though you may not be able to see them.

While those with heart and lung disease or other respiratory illnesses are at the greatest risk for developing complications due to smoke, it's a good idea for even healthy people to avoid breathing smoke if you can help it. Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles. 

These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis. Fine particles also can aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases - and even are linked to premature deaths in people with these conditions.
At 8:53AM on Thursday August 8, 2013 current air quality conditions are Moderate

This weekend Klamath County Environmental Health is currently predicting good to moderate air quality conditions during the day, with a chance of heavy smoke in the evenings. 

For updated smoke and fire information in Oregon, click here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Health officials urge residents to stay indoors during poor air quality times

Wildfires are creating hazardous and smoky conditions in Klamath County prompting health officials to recommend the following safety precautions:
·         Limit strenuous outdoor activity during peak poor air quality times. To find the latest air quality information, visit http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.
·         Children, elderly, homeless, and individuals with respiratory illnesses such as asthma are at the greatest risk of having health problems from smoke. These priority populations can receive free NIOSH-certified N95 respirators during the following times:
o   Thursday, August 8th from 10:30am to 11:30 am at the Senior Center (2045 Arthur Street)

o   Tuesday, August 13th from 6:00pm to 7:00pm at the Center for Occupational Health (2621 Crosby Avenue).

Sky Lakes Medical Center and Klamath Senior Center are sponsoring these events. The American Red Cross and Klamath County Public Health will distribute NIOSH-certified N95 respirators to priority populations, particularly those on a fixed income, this week.

N95 respirators can be purchased locally at many hardware and drug stores, but remember that the commonly found paper comfort or dust masks will not protect your lungs from smoke. Masks can make the work of breathing more difficult and can lead to increased breathing and heart rates. Because of this people with heart or respiratory diseases should only use a mask under a doctor’s supervision. 

Klamath County Department of Health urges residents take the following precautions to avoid breathing problems or other symptoms from smoke:
·         Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with highest concentrations.
·         Residents can check the current local air quality conditions on DEQ’s website (http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx) or call 503-229-6397. Avoid outdoor activities when air quality is unhealthy and hazardous.
·         Avoid smoke either by leaving the area or protecting yourself by staying indoors, closing all windows and doors and using a filter in your heating/cooling system that removes very fine particulate matter.
·         Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions. Those with heart or lung problems, as well as young children, are especially vulnerable.
·         People suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Health Issues with Prolonged Smoke Exposure

Prolonged exposure to wildfire smoke can cause irritation to eyes with symptoms such as burning, redness, and tearing. Even a healthy person’s eyes can be bothered by wildfire smoke exposure.

People with eye conditions, such as dry eye syndrome, are more susceptible to smoke-exposed eye irritation.

To relieve the symptoms, keep the mucous membranes comfortably moist with over-the-counter artificial tear drops and by staying hydrated. If you are well hydrated, your body will have moisture to make tears that will keep your eyes moist. Running a humidifier may also provide relief. Consult with a doctor if symptoms last longer than several days. If you are in an area where there is a lot of ash or fine dust, use eyewear protection.

Air Quality Update

Air quality conditions this afternoon have slightly improved since this morning but are still unhealthy for sensitive groups. Remember, open and outdoor burning is prohibited.

The best thing to do is to limit your exposure to the smoke.

  • Stay indoors whenever possible, 
  • Use air conditioners 
  • Close your windows in your house and in your car 
  • Minimize other sources of air pollution such as smoking tobacco, using wood burning stoves, burning candles or incense and vacuuming. Staying hydrated (by drinking lots of water) 
Station 10118Wildfire AQI
Klamath Falls - Peterson School

Air Quality Rating:
Air Quality Index:137
Critical Pollutant:PM 2.5
Concentration:50.1 µg/m3
Last Report:Aug 6 2013 2:00PM PDT
Information:Smoke in area. Wildfire Air Quality Rating (WAQR) used for PM 2.5.

Wildfires and Unhealthy Air Continue

Current air quality remains unhealthy. At 7AM, PM2.5 levels were 89.6 ug/m3.

Instead of your morning run or walk outdoors, consider using a treadmill or doing other exercises inside. It is important to limit outdoor activities during periods of poor air quality.

Fire conditions in Oregon according to Inciweb.org

According to Oregon Department of Forestry, wildfire potential remains extremely high in Klamath County and throughout southern Oregon. Remember that everyone has the responsibility to prevent wildfires.

  • Never leave a campfire unattended. Currently, Rogue-River Siskiyou National Forest is allowing campfires only in designated areas. Contact the Rogue-River Siskiyou National Forest or check out their website for a designated list.
  • When camping, take care when using and fueling lanterns, stoves, and heaters.
  • Avoid using cigarettes, cigars, or other lit products.
  • Keep all types of vehicles off dry grass.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Unhealthy air returns

Despite some relief from poor air quality conditions this weekend, unhealthy air has returned to Klamath Falls. Current air quality conditions are unhealthy for everyone. Remember, no outdoor burning is allowed county wide. 

Make sure to keep those doors and windows closed today, and if you have an A/C set it to "recirculate" or "recycle".

Station 10118Wildfire AQI
Klamath Falls - Peterson School

Air Quality Rating:
Air Quality Index:164
Critical Pollutant:PM 2.5
Concentration:80.6 µg/m3
Last Report:Aug 5 2013 8:00AM PDT
Information:Smoke in area. Wildfire Air Quality Rating (WAQR) used for PM 2.5.

Friday, August 2, 2013

AQ Update

Klamath County's Air Quality is expected to fluctuate between Moderate and Unhealthy levels throughout the weekend. For Hourly PM 2.5 Air Quality values, please check out the following link and select Klamath Falls Peterson School: http://www.deq.state.or.us/lab/aqm/rt/rtHourlyConc.aspx 

This will give you the most current readings from our local air quality monitor that is located at Peterson Elementary School.

If the PM 2.5 levels is at or above 35, the Air Quality Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (children, elderly, or people with heart and lung diseases and respiratory illnesses such as asthma).

Station 10118 Wildfire AQI
Klamath Falls - Peterson School

Air Quality Rating:
Air Quality Index: 87
Critical Pollutant: PM 2.5
Concentration: 29.3 µg/m3
Last Report: Aug 2 2013 1:00PM PDT
Information: Smoke in area. Wildfire Air Quality Rating (WAQR) used for PM 2.5.

Air Quality Update for Klamath County

The AQ Advisory from noon Friday August 2, 2013 until Noon on Monday August 5, 2013 is YELLOW.   No outdoor burning is allowed county wide.

Station 10118
Klamath Falls - Peterson School

Air Quality Rating:
Air Quality Index:
Critical Pollutant:
PM 2.5
29.7 µg/m3
Last Report:
Aug 2 2013 7:00AM PDT
Smoke in area. Wildfire Air Quality Rating (WAQR) used for PM 2.5

FRIDAY: The upper trough will continue to be centered over the western OR, with generally dry conditions and light winds, oriented mostly NW, expected in the fire regions. Accompanying this scenario will be an increase in mixing levels over inland areas. This scenario will likely improve smoke dispersion in areas not located east and southeast of active fires. Also, some areas near the coast will likely see reduced low cloud cover in the afternoon and warmer surface conditions. Elevated smoke levels will likely persist downwind of existing fires.

EXTENDED OUTLOOK: The upper level trough persists over the region Saturday and Sunday, but weakens. Low-level winds will likely be oriented N to NW. Areas to the south and SE of active fires will likely see significantly elevated levels of smoke particulates at times. Generally dry conditions are expected

Air Quality Monitoring Map      http://www.deq.state.or.us/lab/aqm/stations/kfp10118.htm

Public Health and Air Quality links

To view Klamath County Public Health's website, click here.

To view Klamath County Environmental Health's website and get air quality related materials (like the list of EPA certified stoves or the Clean Air Ordinance), click here.

To view the burn advisory, click here.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How bad is it outside?

At 9AM, our PM2.5 level was 83.1 ug/m3. Air quality is currently unhealthy for all groups; everyone should limit prolonged outdoor activity.

You don't have to understand PM2.5 levels or know how to read the local monitor to check air quality conditions this summer. Air quality conditions can be estimated by simply looking at your surroundings.

To check current air quality conditions, follow these simple steps:

1. Face away from the sun
2. Determine the limit of your visual range by looking for targets at known distances (miles). Visual range is that point at which even objects that are typically easily identifiable totally disappear (like Hogback, your neighbor's house, the "O" on the OIT hill)
3. Use the values below to determine smoke conditions