Mark B. Gibson photo

Heavy wildfire smoke in Oregon reduced visibility downtown The Dalles Friday afternoon to about three blocks. Residents throughout the region were encouraged to stay indoors if possible, and wear particulate (N95) masks if they had to be outdoors. Masks were made available for residents county-wide, with distribution sites in The Dalles and outlying communities.

Air Quality and KN-95 Distribution

A Citizen Alert has been sent to residents of Wasco County warning of hazardous air quality and local distribution sites for protective KN-95 masks.

For Citizens residing in The Dalles, Rowena and surrounding areas, the distribution locations are the parking lot entrance at the The Dalles City Hall and at 425 E 7th Street, Annex C, from 9 am to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept 12, according to the Wasco County Sheriff’s department.

Due to the poor air quality, Wasco County with the assistance with Mosier, The Dalles, Maupin, Tygh Valley, Wamic and Dufur began handing out KN-95 masks Friday.

Wamic Rural Fire Protection District distributed masks Friday night, as did Dufur at the Dufur School parking lot and Maupin at City Hall. Masks were made available in TyghValley at the Tygh Valley Store during business hours, the Moiser Post Office Friday night, and Walters Corner Store for Juniper Flats and Pine Grove during business hours.

The Sheriff’s department also noted the county is also beginning to see displaced folks arriving from the west. Current evacuation areas are Riverfront Park and Tygh Valley Fairgrounds.

A dense smoke advisory issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration remains in effect through Monday, Sept. 14. The advisory warns of visibility of 1/4 mile or less at times in dense smoke.

Visibilities will be reduced through the weekend in many locations, even in those areas where visibilities are currently greater than 1/4 mile, according to the advisory, which was issued for a large portion of central and eastern Oregon and portions of south-central and southeast Washington, including but not limited to Bend, Redmond, the Dalles, Hermiston, Pendleton, Tri- Cities and Walla-Walla.

Unhealthy air quality is also expected due to the dense smoke through Monday.

Persons with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors to avoid inhaling smoke. If driving, slow down, use your headlights, and leave plenty of distance ahead of you.

Target areas include Central Oregon, East Columbia River Gorge, East Slopes of the Oregon Cascades, Foothills of the Northern Blue Mountains of Oregon, Foothills of the Southern Blue Mountains of Oregon, Lower Columbia Basin of Oregon and North Central Oregon.

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