Tillamook, OR – September 9th, 2020 – Wildfires raging across the state of Oregon have displaced over 500,000 residents and are creating hazardous breathing conditions throughout the Pacific Northwest. Particles Plus Sales Manager, Jim Akey, resides in the coastal town of Tillamook which is located approximately 70 miles West of Portland. They are currently experiencing the effects on air quality caused by the wildfires and were able to document the levels of particulates indoors and outdoors during this event.
Due to Easterly winds, the massive wildfires, located Southeast of Portland and the Southwestern edge of Mt. Hood National Forest are creating very unhealthy air quality for residents throughout the state. Oregon Office of Emergency Management reports that they are trying to contain over 38 active fires.
During the morning hours, Jim Akey was able to record the air quality in his home, of more than 14 times the typical outdoor average PM2.5 values found in his area. Using a Particles Plus Model 7302-AQM, Jim recorded over 125 µg/m³ for PM 2.5 particulates (particles 2.5 microns and smaller measured as mass per cubic meter). The instrument also recorded an indoor CO2 value of 527 parts per million (ppm) which is typical for an indoor measurement.
After an hour, Jim took measurements of the outdoor air quality, with the PM 2.5 values of 218 µg/m³ indicated. This is more than 24 times the normal average PM 2.5 value of 9.5 µg/m³. The skies throughout the state were an brown-orangish color, with these elevated levels of particulates more than 70 miles from the nearest major wildfire based on the wind direction during these samples.
Our thoughts and concern go out to all residents throughout the West Coast facing these wildfires the past few weeks. The team at Particles Plus urge anyone in affected areas to stay tuned in to their local Emergency Managements warning systems for possible evacuations. With the high level of particulates throughout the region, the use of any effective masks (KN95 & N95 types) is soundly recommended if available. These levels of particulates are unhealthy, especially to respiratory distressed or asthmatic individuals.
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