PENDLETON Pendleton, Hermiston, The Dalles and the Columbia River Gorge are under an air pollution stagnation advisory from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. The agency issued the advisory for much of northeast and north central Oregon due to stagnant air conditions and increasingly high levels of air pollution.
The advisory is in effect through Monday afternoon for the Lower Columbia Basin, including Pendleton, Hermiston, the foothills of the Blue Mountains and the Columbia River Gorge east of The Dalles.
The DEQ based the advisory on the latest information from the National Weather Service, which Thursday issued its own air stagnation advisory for the region. The environmental department asked people in the affected areas to halt open burning and limit use of uncertified wood stoves. Persons with questions about open burning should contact their local fire department. The agency also urges people who have alternative heating options not to burn in wood stoves or fireplaces. People also should limit driving and vehicle idling.
Due to a persistent temperature inversion and light winds, air quality in portions of the affected area is expected to deteriorate through the weekend. During periods of air stagnation, smoke is trapped at ground level where people inhale the smoke particles. Numerous scientific studies link smoke pollution to a variety of problems, including coughing, aggravated asthma, bronchitis and irregular heartbeat.
Health officials recommend young children, pregnant women, asthma sufferers, those with lung or heart conditions and adults age 65 and older limit vigorous outdoor activity. Pollution levels are highest during evening and morning hours due to wood stove use and inversi on conditions. Individuals likely to be affected should check with their doctor should pollution make asthma or other medical conditions worse.
Information about smoke pollution is on DEQs website at: www.deq.state.or.us/aq/burning/woodstoves/index.htm .