Pole Creek Wildfire Health Advisory
Incident: Pole Creek Wildfire
POLE CREEK WILDFIRE HEALTH ADVISORY
Oregon Health Authority-Kathleen Vidoloff, (971) 673-1012
Department of Environmental Quality-Frank Messina, (541) 633-2119
WILDFIRE SMOKE REMAINS AT VERY HIGH LEVELS
Due to the Pole Creek wildfire, smoky conditions are expected to persist throughout Central Oregon for two weeks or more. Deschutes County Health, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Oregon Health Authority, and the Sisters School District are communicating on a daily basis to work on short and long-term options to reduce the health impact of wildfire smoke inhalation for the public.
Updates and health recommendations for SISTERS:
- The "shelter in place" health advisory set by Deschutes County Health last week continues UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE for the affected area of Sisters. "Shelter-in-place" means to take shelter where you are-at home, work, school, or in between. In this case, it also means "seal the building;" in other words, take steps to prevent outside air from coming in. It is important to continue to monitor the news to understand whether health officials recommend you continue to remain indoors, or to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family.
- Deschutes County Health officials highly recommended that all public outdoor activities in Sisters be cancelled when the concentration of smoke in the area is highest. Currently, the estimated "window" of better air quality is from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. each day in Sisters. Residents can check the current local air quality conditions on DEQ's website (http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx) or call (503) 229-6397.
- Local medical clinics in Sisters are being monitored for an increase of patient visits due to the wildfire smoke. At this time, most who are inquiring at Sisters clinics are receiving health advice over the phone or picking up respiratory medications/inhalers. Significant increases in patient volume have not been observed at this time.
Updates and health recommendations for REDMOND & BEND:
- As a result of the fire, smoke is likely to drift into Redmond and Bend on a daily basis. When air quality conditions reach unhealthy levels in these cities, residents are also advised to remain indoors until conditions improve.
- Residents can check the current local air quality conditions on DEQ's website (http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx) or call (503) 229-6397.
What the public can do to protect themselves from harmful wildfire smoke:
1. People with chronic lung or heart conditions, the elderly, and children have higher risk of health problems from breathing dense wildfire smoke. They should consider relocating to a place with better air quality.
2. Avoid smoke when it appears or smells the strongest by staying indoors or when DEQ indicates "Unhealthy" air conditions, closing and sealing all windows and doors. If your air conditioner uses re-circulated air, continue running it. If possible, use a filter in your heating/cooling system that removes very fine particulate matter. If your air conditioner pulls in air from outside, turn it off. Locking windows may provide a tighter seal from the smoky air.
- People with concerns about health issues, including those suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions, should follow their breathing management plans; keep medications on hand, and contact healthcare providers if necessary. Remember-the longer poor smoke conditions linger, the more likely a person's health may be affected. Please be prepared and think ahead regarding ordering medications, leaving town, etc.
3. Avoid outdoor activities until air quality improves. Those who regularly work or exercise outside should suspend activity, or seek indoor solutions.
4. Continue to monitor local news outlets; we will continue to provide updated information as we receive it.
The updated recommendations above will continue UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, pending weather forecasts (changing wind direction and temperatures) and progress in containing the Pole Creek fire.
Central Oregon 2-1-1, the phone service that connects the community to local and basic services (housing, lodging, utilities, and more), continues to receive and share smoke inhalation information to callers.
The next public Pole Creek wildfire meeting will be held at Sisters Elementary School TONIGHT-Thursday, September 20 at 7:30 p.m. All attendees will receive updates about the Pole Creek fire, and other agencies involved will give updates (including DEQ and Deschutes County Health).
HELPFUL WEBSITE LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION:
For more information about preparing to shelter in place and for mask information to prevent smoke inhalation, please visit
Centers for Disease Control fact sheet about the health threats from wildfire smoke: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/wildfires/facts.asp
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's health effects information for particulate matter (the most harmful component of wildfire smoke for most people): http://www.epa.gov/pm/health.html
The Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry website on the health effects of wildfire air pollution: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/general/theair.html
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality website about wildfire smoke: http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/burning/wildfires/index.htm .
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) fact sheet about asthma and wildfire smoke: http://public.health.oregon.gov/HealthyEnvironments/Documents/WildfiresAsthma final.pdf .
OHA fact sheet about how to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke and high-risk populations: http://public.health.oregon.gov/HealthyEnvironments/Documents/WildfireExposure final.pdf .
OHA wildfire preparedness web page: http://public.health.oregon.gov/Preparedness/Prepare/Pages/PrepareForWildfire.aspx
For additional information about wildfire smoke health risks, contact the Deschutes County Health Department at (541) 322-7418.
Deschutes County encourages persons with disabilities to participate in all programs and activities. This event/location is accessible to people with disabilities. If you need accommodations to make participation possible, or to request this information in an alternate format please contact Anna Johnson (see below).
Anna Johnson | Public Communications Coordinator
Deschutes County Administration
1300 NW Wall St., Ste. 200 | Bend, Oregon 97701