Prepare for Wildfire Smoke

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By Joshua Baker

Hot temperatures, low humidity, and strong east winds will create conditions for extreme fire danger across western Oregon and southwest Washington on Friday and Saturday. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Portland has issued a Red Flag Warning that will be in effect for much of western Oregon and Washington between 11 a.m. on Friday through Saturday evening.

If a significant wildfire breaks out in the region, Portland has the potential to experience unhealthy levels of air quality. Some things to start to prepare for to make your living space more comfortable and safer if smoke arrives:. 

  • First, if possible, acquire an air filter which will reduce the amount of particles in your living space. If stores have run out of filters, you can make one yourself
  • Secondly,  make a clean air room. Close doors and windows and place an air filter in the room (the filter will be more effective in a smaller space). 
  • Thirdly, any time you are outdoors, wear a well fitted-mask, such as an N95. Do not partake in any activities that will cause you to breathe harder, such as running, even with a mask on. By breathing more intensely with a mask on, your lungs will be working harder, and with the addition of bad air quality, your lungs will not be receiving enough oxygen.
  • Additionally, pack an emergency kit in case you need to evacuate. It should all contain food, water, medicine, and supplies for a minimum of 72 hours.

Please visit the Lloyd EcoDistrict air quality page for more details and additional resources to prepare: https://www.ecolloyd.org/air-quality-resources/