Staying informed of planned prescribed burns in the forest or public land near you can help you plan and avoid smoky conditions. Remember, local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly, depending on weather factors including wind direction. Check this website for planned prescribed fires, reports on local air quality from downtown Bend, Sisters, or Prineville, and listen to the news in your area for the most up-to-date information.
While residents can view current air quality conditions at Oregon’s DEQ Air Quality Index, these monitoring networks do not capture air quality conditions in all communities. For this reason, it’s important for residents to gauge air quality conditions where they live and take appropriate actions to protect themselves. Look for short-term hourly data or information within the past hour. Even if a monitor may show Green or generally good air quality if smoke is present in your area be sure to protect yourself as necessary for your health.
5-3-1 Visibility Index
Due to the limited availability of air quality monitors in Central Oregon, you can also utilize the 5-3-1 Visibility Index.
Air Quality Index Levels of Health Concern
The chart below describes the health risk rating of different smoke levels. It includes information on how the
Department of Environmental Quality classifies smoke levels for 24-hour and hourly exposure in more detail.
The EPA has assigned a specific color to each Air Quality Index (AQI) category to make it easier for people to understand quickly whether air pollution is reaching unhealthy levels in their communities. For example, the color orange means that conditions are “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” while red means that conditions may be “unhealthy for everyone,” and so on.
Want to learn more? Check out these tips from OHA to stay healthy during smoky air.
Oregon DEQ Air Quality Index (AQI) Map
The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air.
A mobile app for air quality monitoring is also available for smart phones. Simply search for OregonAir in your App Store or Google Play Store. For more information on the Air Quality Index, please see the EPA’s webpage AirNow. Or visit DEQ’s Air Quality webpage at Air Quality Today.