Wildfire Smoke Further Degrades Lane County's Air Quality

Apr 24, 2019

Lane County’s air quality gets a dismal grade in the latest annual report by the American Lung Association. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, wildfires are to blame.

Smoky sunshine.
Credit Mark Gunn / Flickr

In the 2019 State of the Air report, Lane gets an “F” for heavy amounts of particulate matter. The grade is based on data from 2015 through 2017.

“That includes some of the worst wildfire smoke we’ve seen in our area since we started measuring,” says Jo Niehaus, of Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA).  She says this area teeters on the failing end of the spectrum already due to wood smoke that lingers in the Willamette Valley every winter.

Fire caused by an automobile, 2014.
Credit Oregon Department of Transportation

“That has improved quite a bit in the last few years, unfortunately now our summertime data has skyrocketed due to the wildfires.  And that’s why we’re continuing to see a failing grade with the State of the Air report.”

LRAPA is asking the EPA to exclude wildfire pollutant data as an “Exceptional Event”, because they aren’t able to regulate them.

Washington and Multnomah Counties both got “C”s in the State of the Air report.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.