Wildfire smoke is nothing new to us on the High Desert, but Deschutes County Health Department wants you to know how to prepare for sudden air quality degradation.
“We suggest that people keep an N95 or mask with them if they’re gonna be outside and think about how they can protect themselves when they leave their homes. Close your windows before you leave if you’re going to be gone for a while, expect that there could be a sudden change of air quality that could get into your home,” said Emily Horton, program manager for Emergency Preparedness and COVID Recovery with Deschutes County Health.
Hunter Greene is not letting the smoke get in the way of his workout routine. Greene has an ultra-marathon to train for.
“I can’t really stop running because of the smoke. I gotta find strategies to not ruin my lungs,” he said.
Exercising outside when the air is as bad as this is not recommended by the health department, but Greene says an N95 mask helps as he ascends Pilot Butte.
“It sucks to run with one because it just feels so restrictive,” he said. “I’ve noticed it does help when I get back inside and not breathing the smoke anymore, I don’t have as bad of a cough.”
Horton says people should self-assess if they should wear a mask in the smoke but recommends anyone with pre-existing lung conditions wear one if the air quality reaches unhealthy levels for sensitive groups.
She recommends watching smoke forecasts to better prepare for air quality changes.