The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has extended an air quality advisory for much of the state through Tuesday at noon.
The first advisory went into effect Wednesday, Dec. 4 in the Willamette Valley, Columbia River Gorge through The Dalles, Central Oregon and southwest Washington. The DEQ warns that stagnant conditions cause harmful wood smoke to become trapped near the ground where people breathe.
Sensitive populations—young children, elderly people, or anyone with heart or lung conditions—should avoid strenuous outdoor activity while the advisory is in effect.
In Multnomah County, a voluntary wood burning restriction is also still in effect. The county issued its first mandatory wood burning restriction of the year on Tuesday.
Susan Mills, a public affairs specialist with the Oregon DEQ, says the agency is also preparing to install additional air quality monitoring devices throughout the state. The new devices were developed at the DEQ's lab in Hillsboro to be more affordable and in turn more common.
The new SensOR monitors use light sensors to measure particulate pollution that is as small as the size of a human hair. The devices are not available for sale or private use, but they will help the DEQ obtain more accurate air quality readings for more parts of the state.
"We'll be able to deploy more of these around the state than we would with sensors that cost much more," Tom Roick the air quality monitoring manager at DEQ's Lab says. "We're going to be [installing] them all across Oregon, from the coast all the way to Ontario on the eastern side of the state."
The agency plans to install the devices over the next few months. Its goal is to deploy 30 statewide within the next year.