Hot temperatures and air pollution across the Portland Metro area are leading health officials today, July 27, 2022, to issue a mandatory wood burning restriction for residents in Multnomah County.
The air quality burn restriction goes into effect today at noon, and will be lifted when conditions improve. Air quality advisories are posted at multco.us/woodsmokestatus. Conditions are expected to persist at least through Saturday. The restriction comes after the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an ozone air quality advisory, and the Multnomah County Fire Defense Board issued burn bans for fire safety.
This is the first warm season wood-burning restriction – also called a red day – since the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners extended the County’s wood smoke curtailment ordinance year-round in February 2022.
As temperatures warm, air quality issues actually become more common and visible. Ground-level ozone is a respiratory irritant formed when certain pollutants interact with the sun. It is the most persistent air pollutant problem during warmer months, with the exception of wildfire smoke.
Air with high ozone levels can be unhealthy to breathe. Ozone can bring on asthma attacks and affect the health of sensitive individuals, including those with respiratory and heart issues, older adults, young children, and people who are living or being active outdoors.
“Days like today, when it is hot and there’s smog, we really encourage folks to seek cooler air indoors and check on people who are older, people who live alone and especially people with respiratory conditions,” said Brendon Haggerty, who oversees the Healthy Homes and Communities program for Multnomah County Environmental Health.
For information on places to stay cool, including overnight shelters and daytime cooling sites, visit Help for When It’s Hot.
This restriction does not apply to cooking. Exemptions are available.
Protect your health and reduce pollution. The key to reducing ozone is to reduce the emissions that create it.
- Skip the Fire. Do not burn wood. Burning contributes to air pollution.
- Limit or reschedule outside activities. Think about spending more time indoors, where ozone levels are usually lower. If you must be active outdoors, try to schedule activity prior to the Noon hour or in the late evening when the air has cleared.
- Skip the car ride. Combine errands and use public transit, bike, or walk. If you walk or bike, do so early in the morning or later in the evening. Do not idle vehicles or equipment.
- Postpone gas powered mowing. Lawn and garden equipment is responsible for ozone-forming emissions. Postpone yard work that involves gas powered equipment until air quality improves.
- Check on friends, relatives and neighbors. Air pollution can be especially hard on the elderly, children and people with respiratory problems such as asthma.
- Advisories and restrictions are published on the county’s Wood Winter Wood Burning Restriction page.
- Advisories and restrictions are shared through social media, including Facebook ,Twitter, Instagram and NextDoor.
- Residents may sign up to receive emails of wood burning advisories and restrictions
- Residents may sign up to receive text alerts by texting START to (503) 994-2876.
- Notices of mandatory wood burning restrictions are pushed out through Public Alerts.
Report a suspected violation of a mandatory burn restriction to Multnomah County Environmental Health:
- Call 503-988-0035
- Submit a Web form: https://www.multco.us/health/staying-healthy/webform/file-complaint-red-or-yellow-day
- For fire safety, report the fire to your local fire department