Thursday, July 17, 2014




Klamath Falls, Oregon – Smokey Bear will be at Pelican Cinemas in Klamath Falls, Oregon, greeting moviegoers attending the July 18 showing of Disney's movie "Planes: Fire and Rescue,” which starts at 11:50 a.m.


“The South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) thought the release of this movie was a unique opportunity to teach kids about the importance of wildland fire safety and the challenges that firefighters face, both in the air and on the ground,” said Kelli Kuska, Fire Prevention and Education Coordinator for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lakeview District.


From 11 a.m. to noon, children will be able to have their pictures taken with Smokey Bear and participate in educational activities before heading into seeing the movie. Also, various SCOFMP fire trucks will be on display in the theatre parking lot unless needed for fire suppression activities.


In addition, Tanker 61 Memorial volunteers will be staffing a booth that pays tribute to the Klamath Falls pilot and co-pilot, Chuck Sheridan and Leonard Martin, who died when the Douglas DC-7 Airtanker they flew crashed while fighting a wildfire. The tanker was stationed at the Klamath Falls Airtanker Base from 1987 through 1992.


A sequel to Disney’s Planes, “Planes: Fire & Rescue” is a new comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world-famous air racer Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. For more information on the movie, visit:



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Press Release

Date: July 15, 2014

Media Contact: Jim Carey/Ramona Quinn Phone: (541)-883-1122

Wildfires Continue to Cause Unhealthy Air Quality in Klamath County


Klamath Falls, Or. – Public Health officials urge Klamath County residents to take precautions as the air quality may reach potentially unhealthy levels. The Moccasin Fire is currently not contained and appears to be sending smoke into the Sprague River, Chiloquin and Lakeview areas. Hourly smoke concentrations are varying from good to moderate. With the arrival of winds from the north, we believe the smoke levels may rise to unhealthy levels today and continue into Saturday in all Klamath Basin areas.


Klamath County Public Health is advising residents in Sprague River, Chiloquin, Klamath Falls, Lakeview, Merrill and Malin to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and urge local residents to take the following precautions to avoid breathing problems or other symptoms from smoke:


Check local Air Quality Index for information about conditions at .  When you have no computer access, if you are unable to see familiar landmarks 5 miles or less away, the air quality may be in the unhealthy category.  If unhealthy conditions are present:


·         Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors. This can usually provide some protection, especially in a tightly closed, air-conditioned house in which the air conditioner can be set to re-circulate air instead of bringing in outdoor air. Staying inside with the doors and windows closed can usually reduce exposure.

·         Avoid strenuous outdoor activity.

·         Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution. Some indoor sources of air pollution can emit large amounts of the same pollutants present in wildfire smoke. Indoor sources such as burning cigarettes, gas, propane and wood burning stoves and furnaces, and activities such as cooking, burning candles, and vacuuming can greatly increase the particle levels in a home. These sources of indoor air pollution should be avoided when wildfire smoke is present.

·         Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, but will not offer protection from smoke. An “N95” mask work properly will offer some protection.


Individuals with lung conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should follow their health care provider’s advice about prevention and treatment of symptoms. When smoke levels are high enough, even healthy people may experience symptoms. Remember, local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly depending on weather factors such as wind direction. People can conduct a visual assessment of smoke levels to quickly get a sense of air quality levels and take precautions. If people have additional concerns, they should contact the nearest local public health agency for the latest in threats to health conditions from smoke.

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's scale for rating air quality


Air Quality
Air Quality Index (AQI)
PM2.5 1-hour Average (µg/m3)
PM2.5 24-hour Average (µg/m3)
Visibility Range
0 - 50
0.0 - 40.4
0.0 - 12.0
Over 15 miles
51 - 100
40.5 - 80.4
12.1 - 35.4
5-15 miles
101 - 150
80.5 - 175.4
35.5 - 55.4
Under 5 miles
151 - 200
175.5 - 300.4
55.5 - 150.4
Under 3 miles
201 - 300
300.5 - 500.4
150.5 - 250.4
Under 1 mile
Table 1. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is the EPA's scale for rating air quality

*       The data displayed are the most current available.

*       All readings are preliminary and unvalidated. Following final review, all values are subject to change.

*       New AQI readings will be available at approximately 15-20 minutes past the hour. The AQI map will refresh asynchronously at this time.

*       The units ppm and µg/m3 stand for parts per million and micrograms per cubic meter, respectively. Both are used in the measurement of air pollutant concentration.



You can find information about the fires as well as more information on how to gage visibility in your area from these fires at the following link.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Using visibility to estimate health effects during a wildfire

(from DEQ's website:

DEQ monitors air pollution throughout the state to ensure that air quality standards are being met. Since wildfires often occur in remote areas, air monitoring equipment may not be available. Smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly, depending on weather factors including wind direction. Making visual observations using the 5-3-1 visibility index is a simple way of estimating smoke levels and what precautions to take. While this method can be a useful tool, persons should always use caution and avoid going outside if visibility is limited, especially persons who may be sensitive to smoke. haze and smoke affects health

Estimating visibility using the 5-3-1 Index

Determine the limit of your visual range by looking for distant targets or familiar landmarks such as mountains, mesas, hills, or buildings at known distances (miles). The visual range is that point at which these targets are no longer visible. Ideally, the viewing of any distance targets should be made with the sun behind you. Looking into the sun or at an angle increases the ability of sunlight to reflect off of the smoke, and thus making the visibility estimate less reliable.

Once distance has been determined, follow this simple guide:
    If over 15 miles:  The air quality is generally good.

    Between 5-15 miles:  Air quality is moderate and beginning to deteriorate, and is generally healthy, except possibly for smoke sensitive persons. The general public should avoid prolonged exposure if conditions are smoky to the point where visibility is closer to the 5 mile range.

    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. 
Using the 5-3-1 Visibility Index
Distance you can see*
You are:
You have:
An adult
A teenager
An older child
Age 65 and over
A young child
Respiratory illness
Lung or heart disease
5 milescheck visibilityminimize outdoor activity
3 milesminimize outdoor activitystay inside
1 milestay insidestay inside

No matter how far you can see, if you feel like you are having health effects from smoke exposure, take extra care to stay inside or get to an area with better air quality.You should also see your doctor or other health professional as needed.
* less reliable under high humidity conditions

Source: Oregon Wildfire Response Protocol for Severe Smoke Episodes, version 2.0, June 3, 2014