Environment, Smoke, Weather

Stagnant air expected through Monday, NWS says

Smoke hovers above Gales Peak on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Photo: Chas Hundley

Stagnant air — a soup of haze, smoke and fog — is settling in for the weekend and beyond as a strong inversion traps pollutants in the air, with the potential to cause breathing issues for those already suffering with respiratory problems, the National Weather Service says. 

While not expected to return to conditions experienced earlier in September caused by wildfire smoke, the effects will likely linger through Monday, October 5.

It’s bad enough that the NWS in Portland issued what’s called a “Air Stagnation Advisory” on Thursday afternoon for locales in the region under 2,000 feet of elevation, which is scheduled to end 6 p.m. on Monday. 

A map of current air quality conditions maintained by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality can be seen at https://oraqi.deq.state.or.us/home/map. Data for western Washington County is collected at a station located on the Pacific University campus in Forest Grove, with other stations dotting the region as well. 

More information on wildfire smoke can be viewed at http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com

During periods of heavy wildfire smoke, here are some tips compiled by a number of Oregon-based agencies:

— Stay indoors whenever possible with the windows and doors shut.

— Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution such as smoke from tobacco, wood-burning stoves and burning candles.

— Use a high-efficiency (HEPA) or electrostatic precipitating (ESP) air-cleaning filter, if available.

— Avoid vacuuming, which can stir up dust.

— When driving is necessary, drive with windows closed and air conditioning set to recirculate.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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