Air stagnation and pollution levels cause "Red" wood burning advisory in Oakridge

LRAPA issued a 24-hour smoke ban in Oakridge beginning at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, 2016. Image courtesy Lane Regional Air Protection Agency

EUGENE, Ore. – The poor air quality caused Lane Regional Air Protection Agency to issue a “Red” wood burning advisory for Oakridge beginning Monday afternoon.

LRAPA said the advisory is in effect from 4 p.m. Monday until 4 p.m. Tuesday.

During a “Red” advisory, no visible smoke is allowed from a residential chimney.

The strong air inversions over the last three days have caused smoke to build up in Oakridge.

“Pollution levels are dropping during the day, but we saw levels reaching over 160 on the Air Quality Index, to the ‘Unhealthy’ level this morning. Levels are expected to steeply rise again tonight,” said LRAPA spokesperson Jo Niehaus. “When pollution levels are that high, everyone may begin to experience health effects and those who are more sensitive may experience more serious health effects.

LRAPA asks the public to use alternative forms of heat until the air quality clears.

The ban will end when the National Weather Service lifts the air stagnation advisory.

During a “Red” advisory, any visible smoke from a chimney can result in enforcement and a fine. City police can issue tickets to violators.

People with exemptions are held to the 20 percent smoke opacity limit in Oakridge’s Urban Growth Boundary.

LRAPA says conditions are similar in the Eugene/Springfield metro area. They ask the public to minimize wood burning before the conditions reach a “Red” advisory.

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