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Air quality worsens in Eugene / Springfield

Wildfire Smoke Outlook Map for the Eugene and Springfield area showing fires and air quality symbols.
Wildfire Smoke Outlook Map for Friday, Sept. 15, 2023 from the U.S. Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program.

Smoke from fires in the cascades is wafting into the Eugene & Springfield area and causing poor air quality.

Travis Knudsen with the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency said the sunshine and heat is causing wildfires to be more active and produce more smoke. He said air quality has been in the hazardous range closer to the Lookout Fire in Blue River and unhealthy for sensitive groups in Springfield.

He expected improvement in the afternoon and evening. Saturday will be similar.

“We will see that same pattern return of air quality degrading throughout the morning," he said. "(It will be) at its worst in the afternoon and as we get into late afternoon and evening (we will see) air quality generally improve once again.”

Knudsen said he expects air quality to improve on Sunday and into early next week, with cooler weather in the forecast.

He said the poor air quality should be intermittent, though people in sensitive groups may want to assess their time spent outdoors.

Prescribed burning that was planned for some areas around Eugene and Springfield was canceled this week because of the weather conditions.

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.