Report: Wildfires worsening air quality in Eugene and Springfield

The Eugene-Springfield area is now the 38th most polluted area in the U.S., up 57 spots since last year's ranking.

Posted: Apr 24, 2019 8:43 AM
Updated: Apr 24, 2019 10:30 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Eugene-Springfield area is now the 38th most polluted area in the U.S. for annual particle pollution, according to the American Lung Association's "State of the Air" 2019 report. That's 57 spots higher than last year's 98th place ranking. 

The American Lung Association says their annual air quality “report card” tracks Americans’ exposure to unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution, both of which can be deadly. Lane County experienced a significant increase in unhealthy particle days and received an “F” grade in the report. 

The report attributes these unhealthy particle spikes to events like wildfires, adding that wintertime inversions, like those occurring in Oakridge, combined with smoke from burning wood for heat also contribute to particle pollution.

The report says the Eugene-Springfield area is also now the 62nd most polluted area in the country for ozone pollution. There was a small improvement in the area's short-term particle pollution. Eugene-Springfield is now the 19th most polluted for short-term particle pollution.

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