Smoke from fire near Sisters reaches Eugene area

EUGENE, Ore. - Weather conditions carried smoke from the Pole Creek fire near Sisters into the southern Willamette Valley on Wednesday, local air monitors report.

Satellite images from Tuesday show a smoke plume from the Pole Creek fire drifting toward the southern Willamette Valley.

The fire has burned across 4,336 acres, a little less than 7 square miles.

The Pole Creek fire is only 5 percent contained, and fire officials have said the flames will likely burn until fall rains wet Central Oregon.

Residents in the Eugene, Springfield, and Cottage Grove areas are encouraged to keep an eye on air quality over the next few days, said Sally Markos, spokesperson for the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA).

“High pressure is creating an offshore flow, with winds coming from the east in the late night and early morning hours, bringing smoke into the area," she said.

LRAPA’s air quality monitors in downtown Springfield, south Eugene and Cottage Grove are currently recording air quality in the good range, but that could change quickly if smoke is carried into the valley, Markos said.

Onshore winds are forecast for the weekend, which would push any smoke out of the region.

“If smoke levels do rise, anyone with asthma, respiratory problems, or heart disease should avoid vigorous activity,” Markos said.

The fine particles contained in wood smoke, also called particulate, are especially harmful because they are inhaled deep into the lungs and can enter the bloodstream. Residents experiencing health problems associated with the smoke are encouraged to consult with their doctors.