A spokesman for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in Bend says we are once again have a fire season with large periods of unhealthy air.
DEQ spokesman Brian Mannion says on Sunday it was smoke from the "Waterfalls 2 Fire" near Mount Jefferson,and then Monday smoke from a large wildfire near Lakeview was the culprit behind the hazy skies. Mannion says the DEQ monitoring station in Bend has been registering a status of "unhealthy Air Quality for sensitive populations" and even an "Unhealthy for Everyone" reading. When the air is that bad health officials recommend that people stay inside and entirely avoid strenuous activities or exercise outside.
Mannion spoke to 1110 KBND news on Monday.
"ITS IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO NOTE THAT SMOKE CONDITIONS CAN CHANGE RAPIDLY - SMOKE CAN ROLL INTO TOWN VERY QUICKLY- SMOKE CAN LEAVE TOWN VERY QUICKLY-SO PEOPLE NEED TO BE AWARE OF THEIR IMMEDIATE SURROUNDINGS -- OVERALL IF YOU'RE AFFECTED YOU NEED TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS - STAY INSIDE- CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS."
Mannion says we are seeing a similar pattern to what we saw for air quality last fire season.
"SO FAR COMPARED TO LAST YEAR- WE ARE ABOUT ON PAR - BOTH ARE FAIRLY SMOKEY YEARS FOR CENTRAL OREGON- ITS A COMBINATION OF FIRES AND WINDS- SOMETIMES THERE ARE FIRES AND THEY CARRY SMOKE AWAY FROM POPULATION CENTERS- AND OTHER TIMES THE WINDS CAN CARRY THAT SMOKE RIGHT INTO TOWN- AND WE ARE HAVING A VERY ACTIVE FIRE SEASON AS WELL."
The air is measured once an hour at the Bend station. He notes that it is a local reading so the Air Quality at the DEQ station could be very different than in other areas throughout Central Oregon.