AQI

Wildfire particulates and smoke are causing severe health hazards for Brookings and nearby towns.

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Update: The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has extended an Air Pollution Advisory through Thursday, Sept. 17. The Air Quality Index (AQI) for the Brookings area is registering at a much better rating of 165, as compared to last Friday’s AQI of 481.

Although the air quality is greatly improved, it’s still considered “unhealthy,” but is two steps below the previous “hazardous” rating. The dominant pollutant is PM2.5, which is attributed to smoke from wildfires. Children, older adults, and those with respiratory issues should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.

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The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has extended an Air Pollution Advisory through noon Monday, Sept. 14. The Air Quality Index (AQI) for the Brookings area is registering 481 on a scale that starts at zero and only goes up to 500.

An air quality index is used by government agencies to convey how polluted the air currently is or how polluted it is forecast to become. The higher the AQI value, the greater the air pollution and danger to public health.

The air quality monitoring device for Brookings is located at the north end of town, approximately across U.S. Highway 101 from Harris Beach State Park.

The monitoring device tracks six types of pollutants considered harmful to pubic health and the environment. Those include carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter (PM) that ranges from 10 µm (micrometers) or less and 2.5 µm or less, and sulfur dioxide. Measurements of PM for Sept. 11 at 10:55 a.m. showed “hazardous” levels of PM10 (larger particles) as the dominant pollutant and “very unhealthy” levels of PM2.5 (smaller particles), both attributed to regional wildfire particulates and smoke.

Wildfires burning in the region combined with forecast conditions will cause air quality levels to fluctuate and could be at unhealthy to hazardous levels,  according to the advisory.

When smoke levels are hazardous everyone needs to take steps to protect themselves.

Pollutants in smoke can cause burning eyes, runny nose and aggravate heart and lung diseases and other serious health problems.

To protect yourself when smoke levels are high:

Avoid outdoor activities and stay inside if possible. Keep windows and doors closed.

  • Be aware of smoke in your area and avoid places with the highest levels.
  •  Use high efficiency particulate (HEPA) air filters.
  • If you have heart disease, lung disease or asthma, follow your health care provider's advice.
  • Consider leaving the area if smoke levels are hazardous and you have heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions.

For additional information visit the Oregon DEQ web site at: https://www.oregon.gov/deq or oregonsmoke.blogspot.com or downloadthe free OregonAIR app on your smartphone.

Data from the Brookings air quality monitor can be found at: https://www.wunderground.com/health/us/or/brookings/97415?cm_ven=localwx_modaq

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