Portland/ Weather & Environment
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Published on April 19, 2024
Oregon Grapples with Smoke-Filled Skies, Bend and Cave Junction Face Unhealthy Air Quality Amid Wildfire SeasonSource: Department of Environmental Quality

As wildfires rage on, Oregon bears the brunt with increasingly smoky summers. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's latest Smoke Trends report adds fuel to concerns about air quality, revealing that Central and Southern Oregon were hit hardest in the 2023 wildfire season. Bend endured 21 days of air quality ranging from unhealthy for sensitive groups to even worse conditions, while Cave Junction suffered 23 days of similar or dire air quality , as reported by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Smoke-filled days have become all too common since 2012, and the 2023 season was no different with significant impact from fires in the state and beyond. Locales like Lane County, Curry County, and Clackamas County watched ash cloud their skies, while smoke from distant blazes in California, Washington, and Canada didn't hesitate to make its presence felt in Oregon. Meanwhile, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality works diligently to monitor and forecast smoke conditions, issuing timely advisories for the public safety.

Residents can find solace in modern technology, with the OregonAIR app ready to deliver the latest on the Air Quality Index (AQI). This valuable tool, available for both iPhone and Android users, gives Oregonians the ability to quickly adjust and prepare for unhealthy air levels.

Health and wellness hang in the balance as the DEQ collaborates with various agencies to effectively to assess and respond to ongoing smoke episodes. Current conditions and future projections are scrutinized, keeping communities informed with up-to-date air quality advisories, which can be found on the Oregon Smoke Blog.