Air quality advisory could be longest in years, experts say

As stagnation continues, polluted air will continue to build, making conditions worse.

Posted: Nov 7, 2019 4:20 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The air quality advisory put in place due to smoky conditions could be the longest the region has seen in several years, according to the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality expects the advisory, which began Monday, to stay in effect until at least Nov. 12. An advisory that lasts over a week is unusual, but not unheard of, said Jo Niehaus of LRAPA. 

She said a high-pressure ridge is causing stagnated air to trap smoke and other emissions in the Willamette Valley. As stagnation continues, polluted air will continue to build, making conditions worse.

STORMTRACKER 9 FORECAST: FOGGY CONDITIONS LIKELY TO CONTINUE

Experts are hoping that forecasted weather conditions next week will improve air quality.

Outdoor burning is still banned in Lane County, excluding the coast. As of Thursday afternoon, home wood heating is only discouraged. 

"Wood burning, whether it's in a wood stove or a fireplace, that's going to put more smoke into the air. And instead of getting ventilated and cleared out of the valley, it's going to stick around," said Niehaus.

Children, the elderly and those with respiratory illnesses are especially susceptible to breathing problems, according to experts.

Eugene resident Charlotte Gunnel had bronchitis several times when she was young. She said now she is sensitive to air quality.

"I'm a bit breathing challenged. Usually, it doesn't bother me at all. But some of the lower pressure density air like this does affect me a little," she said.

If you are experiencing breathing problems, officials recommend calling your health care professional.

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