Air quality in the Salem area has been “unhealthy” or “unhealthy for sensitive groups” since Tuesday night, as the area sits under a ridge of high pressure.
The pollution, primarily smoke, should begin to clear by Thursday afternoon, when winds are predicted to pick up, said Briana Muhlestein, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
A frontal system will bring rain Thursday night and Friday, which should further improve air quality, she said.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality doesn’t plan to issue an air quality advisory, DEQ spokesman Dylan Darling said. That usually only happens when air quality is projected to be poor for a prolonged period.
But officials urge people to keep an eye on conditions and take precautions, he said.
People are also urged to follow local burn restrictions and avoid using woodstoves if possible when air quality is bad, Darling said.
Current air quality conditions and advisories can be found on DEQ’s Air Quality Index at https://ordeq.org/oregonair or by downloading the OregonAIR app on a smartphone.
Oregon ranks air quality as good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, very unhealthy or hazardous.
Sensitive groups include children, people over 65, pregnant people and people with heart disease or respiratory conditions. Health officials recommend those groups limit outdoor activities when pollution levels are high.
Tracy Loew covers the environment at the Statesman Journal. Send comments, questions and tips firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-399-6779. Follow her on Twitter at@Tracy_Loew