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Smoke from wildfires near and far fouls Northwest air: 'Harmful to children and seniors'

Smokey sky as seen from Coburg Ridge

EUGENE, Ore. - Got smoke? You aren't alone.

A fire burned Wednesday morning off Seavey Loop road near Mount Pisgah, southeast of town. Pleasant Hill-Goshen Fire crews responded and controlled the blaze.

And wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia are putting up more smoke amidst near-record temperatures.

Data from the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency shows air quality in the Eugene/Springfield area entered the unhealthy "red zone" for particulate matter on Wednesday morning, driven by smoke from the nearby fire. The air quality fell to moderate later in the morning Wednesday.

Data graphs from air monitoring sites show spikes in particulate from smoke Wednesday.

“Residents who are sensitive to pollution form smoke are advised to use caution when participating in outdoor activities,” said Jo Niehaus, spokesperson for the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency.

The smoke is a combination of smoke from the nearby fire - and fires farther afield.

“We are expecting more smoke impacts this week as winds shift," Niehaus said. "People may see some improvement on Friday, as onshore wind flows are predicted to increase.”

According to LRAPA, "Fine particles from smoke called PM 2.5 are easily inhaled and enter the bloodstream and lungs. It can aggravate existing respiratory and cardiovascular conditions and is especially harmful to children and seniors."

"Smoke from wildfires burning across British Columbia moved into southwest Washington and northwest Oregon overnight," the National Weather Service in Portland said Tuesday morning. "This resulted in areas of deteriorating air quality."

Air quality minders saw this coming.

"Fires in the Pacific Northwest grow larger and are producing dense amounts of smoke as fires in Canada's British Columbia and Alberta continue to burn," the U.S. Air Quality "Smog Blog" noted Monday. "Projections show smoke (...) moving west into the Pacific Ocean. Ozone was observed throughout the day mostly concentrated on the West coast and particularly in California (...) It is believed that with the dense amount of smoke, low winds and highs in the 100s were contributors to the elevated ozone in the region."


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