Portland Fire & Rescue has been receiving a large volume of calls from citizens (particularly those in east county) concerned about smoke in the area. With a major wildfire just east and to the north of us, (White Salmon, WA), Portland has been downwind of the fire all morning. With the current wind coming from the NE at near 10 mph, Portland is likely to experience smoky conditions until the fire goes out or the wind shifts.
The Highway 141 Fire is located along the east side of Hwy 141, approximately 2 miles north of White Salmon, Washington. The fire started at approximately 1:30pm on Wednesday, Sept. 5th. The fire is currently approximately 1,200 acres this morning and is considered to be 40% contained. Current information on the status of this fire can be obtained here: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3238/
There are a few simple actions you should consider that can minimize exposure to smoke that makes its way into a community. The extent of the precautions you take should reflect how heavy the smoke is, how long it lasts, and your health.
* If you smell smoke and/or are beginning to experience symptoms, consider temporarily locating to another area as long as it is safe for you to do so.
* Seek out locations where air is filtered. For example, heading to the local mall, movie theater or recreation center can provide some temporary relief. Local health officials often can help locate places with better air quality during extended smoke episodes.
* Close windows and doors and stay indoors. However, do not close up your home tightly if it makes it dangerously warm inside.
* Only if they are filtered, run the air conditioning, the fan feature on your home heating system (with the heat turned off) or your evaporative cooler. Keep the outdoor air intake closed and be sure the filter is clean. Filtered air typically has less smoke than the air outdoors. Running these appliances if they are not filtered can make indoor smoke worse.
* If you have any HEPA room air filtration units, use them.
* In smoky air, try to reduce your physical activity level. Avoid exercise or other strenuous activities in heavy smoke. If smoke is simply unpleasant or mildly irritating, changing the timing of a few activities may be all that is necessary.
If you are having difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1.