September 4, 2017

I see falling ash. Should I be worried?

Changes in wind conditions may cause the wildfire to grow. As a result, some areas may see ash and other particles in the air. Small particles from wildfire smoke and very hot air can irritate the eyes, throat and lungs. Multnomah County Health Department, the Oregon Health Authority and the Department of Environmental Quality urge residents to take precautions as heat and smoky conditions create poor air quality.

Is breathing in ash dangerous?

People with chronic lung or heart conditions, the elderly and children are at higher risk of health problems from poor air quality. To avoid breathing problems or other symptoms when the air quality is poor, stay inside and if outside, avoid intense activity. 

Anyone with lung problems such as asthma or emphysema should follow their disease management plans, have medications on hand, and contact healthcare providers if necessary.

How will I know if I need to evacuate from a wildfire?

Monitor news reports. For the latest information on evacuation orders, follow Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Multnomah County Emergency Management’s social media pages, or local television and radio news outlets. The Aging and Disability Resource Center at 503.988.3646 and 211info ( also are resources.

I need to run an errand. How do I know which roads are safe for travel?

If you are planning on traveling, check conditions prior to leaving. Haze can result in decreased visibility and longer travel times. Access to some roads and highways also is expected to be limited. Plan your trip beforehand using the Oregon Department of Transportation’s TripCheck tool.

Other Resources

DEQ has issued an ozone advisory for the area. View a list of actions you can take to reduce ozone.

Check the current local air quality conditions on DEQ’s website or call 503-229-6397.

Check the Oregon Smoke blog, for the latest on fires across the state.