Air quality info: When will forest fire smoke reach Willamette Valley?

Air quality info: When will forest fire smoke reach Willamette Valley? »Play Video
Hellgate Bridge shrouded in smoke from the Big Windy fire in southwest Oregon. Photo from Inciweb

EUGENE, Ore. - Even with all the fires burning in Oregon, the southern Willamette Valley has seen plenty of clear blue skies while our neighbors to the south have barely been able to see the sun.

That's about to change.

A north wind sent smoke from the Douglas, Big Windy and other fires to the south.

As those fires burn into the summer and fall, we're bound to see the wind shift - and the smoke intrude into our area.

Eugene and Oakridge Air Quality | Other Oregon Air Quality Measurements

"People will notice some difficulty breathing," said Sally Markos with the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency. "They may cough and they may have wheezing attacks."

Longtime Eugene resident Darcy Duruz has asthma - and notices the smoke.

"Stay indoors, use an air filter, only go outside like first thing in the morning," she said of her routine during fire season. "It can be somewhat restrictive."

But Jason Green plans to work outside 8 to 10 hours per day selling juice, come sun or smoke.

"I can already feel a little bit of discomfort in the back of my throat, and the air feels a little thicker," he said.

LRAPA said the air changes pretty rapidly, so even if particulate from wildfire smoke spikes, the levels could drop down again with a shift in the wind or a summer rain.

Eugene and Oakridge Air Quality | Other Oregon Air Quality Measurements