Wildfires May Affect Local Air Quality

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EUGENE, Ore. — Nearly 500 firefighters are working on the lines of the Pole Creek fire near Sisters.

It’s up to 4,300 acres, but crews have it 5 percent contained.

Though lightning caused several other fires that started this weekend, investigators say this fire is different. They don’t know its cause. What they do know is its smoke is starting to have an effect on the Willamette Valley.

Workers at the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) say the smoke from that same fire was visible Wednesday morning over the Cascade foothills. They want you to keep an eye on air quality over the next few days.

As of right now, LRAPA says the air quality is good, but that could change over the next few days. Images from Tuesday show a smoke plume from the Pole Creek fire drifting toward the southern Willamette Valley.

That, combined with expected hot weather, could complicate things a little. We could see some ozone formation, which would add to the haze and possibly already unhealthy air quality.

“The most important thing to realize is that conditions change quickly and you really need to be on top of it. Check the website. You can even do a sniff test. If you smell smoke, you know the air quality is bad,” said LRAPA spokesperson Sally Markos.

LRAPA says if smoke levels rise, you should avoid outdoor exercise if you have any respiratory conditions.

Click here for LRAPA’s Air Quality Index and hourly particulate levels.

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