▶️ Wildfire haze brings potential health hazards from poor air quality


The western horizon may have seemed a bit faded in Central Oregon Monday.

It’s that time of year: wildfire smoke season.

The main culprit: The 56,000-acre McKinney Fire just south of the Oregon-California border.

On a clear day from Pilot Butte in Bend, you can see Mount Bachelor, Broken Top, the Sisters and more peaks. But the incoming haze makes it more difficult to see them.

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It also may make it more difficult to breathe for some.

“You would experience irritation of the eyes. Runny nose. Sore throat. Sometimes cough,” said Jess LeBlanc, Chief Health Officer at Mosaic Medical.

Monday’s haze has left some worried of what may be to come.

“I have family in Montana who also feel the effects of the fires and the smoke and what it does to them,” said Pilot Butte visitor Sue Dever.

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Those most vulnerable to air pollution are children, unhoused people, people with lung conditions and those that work outdoors. 

“Those that like to exercise outside here in Central Oregon, you want to try to bring that exercise indoors and avoid poor air quality, or just do it for a shorter duration of time,” said LeBlanc.

If air quality degrades to 101 or higher, Deschutes County Emergency Preparedness recommends using a National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety-approved N95 mask outdoors. 


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