Hazy Air and Smoke Alerts for Portland Cloud Holiday Weekend
(Portland, Oregon) - The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a red flag warning regarding fire hazard conditions throughout a large portion of Oregon between the Cascades and the coast range, just as smoke from central Oregon wildfires is blowing into the Portland area and choking local residents. (Above: hazy conditions in SW Portland)
The situation could last until Monday.
Friday, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a warning that wildfire smoke was expected to hit cities from Portland down to Medford, including Salem, Eugene, Silverton and Wilsonville, among others. That has come true, with a hefty helping of warm winds that could be aggravating the problem.
It’s the talk of the town at one Starbucks on Beaverton/Hillsdale Highway in SW Portland. One woman complained not just about the hazy conditions, but that her eyes were burning during a walk in Portland’s Pearl District earlier on Saturday.
The skies over Portland are an unpleasant mix of brown haze and blue skies, with the air thick with the smell of smoke and plenty of irritating particulates, causing a wide variety of allergy-like reactions.
“Smoke could reach unhealthy levels in Salem, Eugene and the Southern Portland Metro area over the weekend, clearing up by Monday,” DEQ said in its warning. “The Department of Environmental Quality urges people in these areas to take precautions should smoke reach unhealthy levels.”
The DEQ said air quality could rise and fall rapidly deepening on changing wind directions.
The agency recommends staying indoors and avoiding strenuous activity outdoors.
Heavy smoke and visibility issues have been reported on some highways near the fires in the Mount Hood and central Oregon areas, like Highway 35.
The NWS issued a red flag warning for much of the I-5 corridor because of the incoming heat wave which will exasperate fire conditions in many of the wildfire areas.