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Winds Push Smoke Out of Willamette Valley

NASA Earth Observatory

This weekend the South Willamette Valley was blanketed with smoke from wildfires, mainly burning east of the cascades. Monday, conditions have improved. It's because the wind changed direction.

East winds blew smoke and haze into the Willamette Valley from fires burning on the Warm Springs reservation and as far away as Pendleton. Sunday, the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency rated Eugene's air quality as unhealthy to very unhealthy.
Matthew Cullen is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland.

Cullen: "Our winds have returned to be more of a westerly or northwesterly component to the winds which brings a little more marine air in and, more importantly, mixes out some of the smoke that had previously come across from the east."

People living east of the cascades and in parts of southern Oregon are still dealing with unhealthy smoke and haze. Cullen says the good news is that rain is forecast for late in the week. That should help with air quality and firefighting efforts.

Oregon Smoke Information

Lane Regional Air Protection Agency

Department of Environmental Quality Air Quality Page

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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