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Willamette Valley residents urged to take precautions due to wildfire smoke

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The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality are offering Oregonians ways to recognize poor air quality conditions and tips to stay healthy and safe during fire season.

Wildfires across the state are creating hazardous and smoky conditions. Smoke from several fires started by lightning strikes over the weekend and larger fires already burning in the region may continue to drift into Oregon communities and rapidly degrade air quality.

“People with chronic lung or heart conditions, the elderly, and children have higher risk of health problems from the fine particles in wildfire smoke,” said Richard Leman, M.D., OHA public health physician. “People who suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions should follow their disease management plans, keep medications on hand, and contact health care providers if necessary.”

DEQ and local county health departments urge residents to 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 or call 503-229-5696. Avoid outdoor activities when air quality is unhealthy and hazardous.
People at increased risk from wildfire smoke can avoid smoke, either by leaving the area or protecting themselves by staying indoors, especially in places with a filter in the heating or cooling system that removes very fine particulate matter.
Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions. People with heart or lung problems, as well as young children, are especially vulnerable.
People suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their disease management plans or contact their healthcare providers.
Helpful links:

DEQ’s Air Quality Index, for current air quality conditions
Oregon Smoke blog for the latest on fires across the state
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