Sisters Sees Hazardous Smoke Levels Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Morning
Incident: Pole Creek Wildfire
For release: Sept. 13, 2012
DEQ air quality contacts:
Frank Messina, Air Quality Program, Bend, 541-633-2019
Brian Mannion, Communications and Outreach, Bend, 541-633-2008
Health information contacts:
Tom Kuhn, Deschutes County Health, 541-322-7410
Jonathan Modie, Oregon Public Health Division Communications, 971-246-9139
Sisters Sees Hazardous Smoke Levels Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Mornings
Calm weather and temperature inversions caused smoke concentrations to reach hazardous levels during morning hours this week. Conditions improved as daytime temperatures increased, but very smoky conditions could return during morning hours for the rest of the week.
The Pole Creek Fire, six miles southwest of Sisters, sent dense smoke into the town during the morning hours of Tuesday, Wednesday and today. Calm conditions and temperature inversions kept smoke at ground level between midnight and noon each of those days. Smoke concentrations at the air quality monitor in Sisters reached hazardous levels during those times.
Health officials urge everyone to avoid outdoor exertion during such conditions. People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should remain indoors and consult their healthcare providers if they have concerns.
The National Weather Service predicts that calm conditions, high pressure and nighttime temperature inversions could cause very smoky mornings through the weekend. Conditions are expected to improve daily as temperatures rise later in the day, allowing smoke to lift away from ground level.
Remember, local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly, depending on weather factors including 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 regional or local public health agency for the latest in health conditions from smoke.
Should smoky conditions persist, state and county health officials urge local residents to take the following precautions:
· Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area.
· Avoid strenuous outdoor activity including sports practice, work and recreation.
· Avoid smoke by staying indoors, closing all windows and doors and using a filter in a heating/cooling system that removes very fine particulate matter. If possible, avoid smoky areas. If you do need to drive through smoke, keep your windows rolled up and vents closed. If you need air conditioning, make sure you set your system to re-circulate to avoid bringing smoke into the vehicle.
· Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated can keep your airways moist which will help reduce the amount of smoke particles that can travel deep into your lungs. Hydration may also reduce symptoms of scratchy throat and coughing.
· Ask questions. People with concerns about health issues, including those suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems should contact their healthcare providers.
For more information about the health effects of smoke:
· See the federal Centers for Disease Control fact sheet about the health threats from smoke.
· Call the Deschutes County Health Department at 541-322-7418 or 541-322-7400 for more information.
For more information about local conditions:
· Visit DEQ's wildfire information page for more information regarding active fires and air quality, along with tools to help people assess smoke levels in their area.
· Tune to local radio and TV stations and the Weather Channel in affected areas that may include the very latest fire information in news programming and weather reports.
· Obtain a dedicated NOAA Weather Radio receiver, which will alert you 24 hours a day to hazards in your area.