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Air quality degrades in Eugene / Springfield. Is it a new pattern?

Smoky skies make an orange sunrise over a burned landscape
Willamette National Forest
The Bedrock Fire stayed within its perimeter Tuesday although tactical burning produced more smoke.

Air quality was forecasted to be good in Eugene / Springfield Wednesday. However, by mid-morning, southern and eastern parts of town had readings in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range.

Travis Knudsen of the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency said smoke from the Bedrock fire seeped down the drainages and settled in the metro area, a pattern he hadn’t seen yet. Knudsen said, “So our question is essentially: Will this now become a daily occurrence, where those southern portions of the Eugene / Springfield area out towards Lowell see that morning smoke and those daily impacts, or is this just really a one-day occurrence, and tomorrow we won’t see that repeated again?" He told KLCC, "That’s not clearly known at this point.”

Knudsen said micro-climate forecasting is complex. But the predominant wind is expected to be from the northwest. He’s hopeful that, even if the valley sees some daily smoke impacts, the clear air coming from the Pacific Ocean should give Eugene and Springfield periods of good air quality.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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