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Lane County air quality remains poor amidst wildfire

The smoky air can be seen at the morning briefing at the Oakridge fire camp on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.
Oakridge under heavy smoke on September 19.

Lane County officials say air quality will remain poor, as long as the Cedar Creek Fire continues burning near Oakridge.

Eugene and Cottage Grove reached “unhealthy” levels for all groups on Friday, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. In Oakridge, conditions were “hazardous”, the harshest classification.

Travis Knudsen of the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency expects smoky conditions to persist through the rest of October.

“There's no real short term relief on the way. The air mass that we're seeing in Oregon right now is pretty stagnant.”

Knudsen said the state needs rainfall to recover, but this month has been unusually dry. He explained that conditions are worst during the morning and at night, as cool temperatures draw air downwards.

Knudsen said harmful particulates can be invisible odorless. He is encouraging the public to check air quality, use an air purifier and wear an N-95 mask.

Nathan Wilk joined the KLCC News Team in 2022. He is a graduate from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Born in Portland, Wilk began working in radio at a young age, serving as a DJ and public affairs host across Oregon.