Data from PurpleAir sensors can also be viewed at fire.airnow.gov.
Wildfire season in the Pacific Northwest happens between June and October, when we get less rainfall and more lightning. The wind and weather in the Columbia River Gorge can make smoke and fire more likely during the summer months.
During fire season, we can expect wildfire smoke from local fires and wildfires burning hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away.
See the Be Smoke Ready section below to prepare yourself and your family for wildfire smoke.
For past and current wildfire information, see inciweb.nwcg.gov.
The end of wildfire season doesn’t always mean an end to smoky air. As we get more rain and temperatures drop, smoke comes from the burning of brush and yard waste, agricultural burning, and prescribed fires. These actions help to reduce wildfire risk by removing fuel on the ground.
Many Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Oregon and Washington offer free mobile chipping programs and yard waste drives. Check with your neighborhood homeowner’s association, your town’s public works or waste management department, or your local Soil and Water Conservation District.
To learn more about other ways you can get rid of yard waste, click here.
If you burn, choose to burn on days when you are least likely to “smoke out” your neighbors. Your local fire department or state forestry department can help you determine what days to safely burn your yard debris.
Learn more about steps to take before you burn.
Our Gorge weather can trap air pollution low to the ground during the winter. This is called an inversion. During an inversion, smoke from wood burning stoves, cars, and industry stays in the “breathing zone”. This can cause poor air quality.
Outdoor burning, agricultural burning, and prescribed fire can create smoke during spring.
Prescribed fire, or planned burning, is a tool to keep the forest healthy. Prescribed fire is safer and less smoky than wildfire.
How to Sign Up for Alerts
1). Use the search bar on this page to find your local alert system by county, city, or zip code. Click Select & Continue to visit your county’s sign-up form.
2). Get lifesaving alerts and instructions during emergencies to help you and others stay safe in the Gorge.
Smoke Ready Gorge is a communication campaign connected to greater partnerships across the Columbia River working towards clean air for all.
Healthy Community Collective