Ash falls on The Bluff, air quality 'very unhealthy'

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An air quality alert is in effect until noon Friday for northeast Oregon.

The contents of our air can be unsafe and put people at risk because wildfire smoke is made up of water vapor, a mixture of gases, and fine particles produced when wood and other organic materials burn.

At one point Tuesday, at least half of the state's 35 air quality stations showed unhealthy levels, according to DEQ.

A Wildfire Smoke Advisory has been issued for Boundary, Bonner, Kootenai, Shoshone, and Benewah Counties.

Caldwell Superintendent Shalene French said the district will decide the course of action moving forward depending on the air quality forecast of the day.

Health officials say the young, the old and people with heart and respiratory problems should remain indoors if the smoke becomes too thick.

Currently, smoke impacts are concentrated in the mountain and foothill areas of the air basin, but impacts on the Valley floor are possible until the fires are extinguished.

"Consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present".

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When you're driving he also suggests your air conditioner is re-circulating the air.

"People with chronic diseases should check with their health care provider before wearing a mask", the department's press release states.

According to maps from the United States Forest Service, air quality in the Seattle area is now listed as moderate.

Svelund said this amount of smoke in the air in such a large area is not normal but is not unprecedented.

These sensitive populations should stay indoors and avoid prolonged activity.

The Nampa school district has cancelled all outdoor games scheduled for Wednesday. Willamette staff members are monitoring reports from the Department of Environmental Quality and taking necessary precautions based on the levels of smoke in the area.

-Check the current local air quality conditions on DEQ's website (oregonsmoke.blogspot.com).

"What's happening is we are having more of an easterly flow because of the high pressure system". But students could choose not to participate if they were concerned by the smoke.

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