Labor Day weekend a bust as wildfire smoke creates hazardous air quality


Wildfire smoke choked parts of Central Oregon again on Labor Day, keeping businesses closed and forcing another band to pull out of its show at Les Schwab Amphitheater.

A day after Brandi Carlile bowed out of a performance, Death Cab For Cutie canceled its Monday night show due to the hazardous air quality.

Refunds are available at the point of purchase.

Thick smoke blew in Friday night from wildfires around the region, putting a hazy damper on summer’s last hurrah for many.

Fire officials say the smoke was coming from the Middle Fork Complex in the Willamette National Forest.

A wildfire south of La Pine sparked Saturday, causing smoke of its own at the time.

Officials said Monday the Forest Meadows Fire east of Crescent was 100% contained at 45 acres.

There were some periodic breaks in the haze at higher elevations, but those who fled to the mountains found little relief.

Meanwhile, food carts and restaurants in Bend closed up early to keep their employees safe – not that anyone was venturing out in the hazardous conditions anyway.

Deschutes Brewery closed its downtown Bend pub on Sunday and kept it closed on Labor Day.


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A post shared by Brandi Carlile (@brandicarlile)

Sunday’s Brandi Carlile show was postponed to Sept. 20th after the singer announced on Instagram she couldn’t perform or ask her crew, bandmates or opening act to work under the dangerous conditions.

The AQI in Bend pushed close to 500 Sunday night.

She played on Saturday night when the air quality was less than ideal and said Sunday morning “I don’t take it back, but I don’t think I can do it again.”

The Oregon DEQ and National Weather Service have issued an air quality advisory in effect until 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“Wildfires burning in the region combined with forecasted conditions will cause air quality to reach unhealthy levels,” the advisory said.



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