Smoke Ready GORGE

In the Columbia River Gorge, the air can be smoky all year. Smoke Ready Gorge was created to protect our health and prepare for future smoke events. Let’s be Smoke Ready together.

PURPLE AIR

This map shows local air quality monitors at schools, orchards, and more.

Data from PurpleAir sensors can also be viewed at fire.airnow.gov.

Click to explore map

OREGON AIR QUALITY NETWORK(5)

This map shows local air quality monitors at schools, orchards, and more.

SUMMER: WILDFIRE SEASON
(June - October)

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 updated wildfire smoke forecasts and smoke safety tips, visit AirNow.gov or the Oregon and Washington smoke blogs.

For past and current wildfire information, see inciweb.nwcg.gov.

FALL: OUTDOOR BURNING
(October - November)

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.

During fire season, there are often burn bans in place. Call your local fire department and check out the Outdoor Burning Maps from Oregon and Washington to learn if there is a burn ban in your area.

Learn more about steps to take before you burn.

WINTER: HOME HEATING & INVERSIONS
(October - April)

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.

Landowners should avoid burning during an inversion. To learn about wood stove exchange programs and clean burning tips, check out Oregon DEQ and the Washington Department of Ecology.

SPRING: OUTDOOR BURNING
(March - June)

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.

To see a map of completed and planned prescribed fires, visit the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Smoke Management Map and the Washington Department of Natural Resources Project Map.

BE SMOKE READY

BE SMOKE READY IN THE GORGE

Protect your lungs and keep your indoor air clean.
Check out local air quality sensors to see if it is safe to be outside.
  • Find local air quality at AirNow.gov and on the Oregon Smoke Blog.
  • If you must be outside in heavy smoke, wear an N95 grade mask.
  • Sign up for local alerts by opting in to the reverse 911 system for your county.
Stay indoors and create clean indoor air.
  • Keep windows and doors closed.
  • If you have HVAC, install the highest-rate MERV filter your system can handle.
  • Use high-efficiency (HEPA) air cleaning filters.
  • Attach a MERV-13 furnace filter to a box fan for an inexpensive DIY air cleaner.
  • Do not vacuum, burn candles, use wood-burning stoves, or use tobacco.
Make a plan with your family.
  • Create an evacuation plan with meet-up locations and a list of contacts.
  • Make an emergency kit that can support you and your family for at least two weeks away from home. Find a full list of emergency kit contents here.
  • Consider the needs of vulnerable household members when making a plan.
  • Keep children, seniors, pregnant women, those with heart or lung disease, and outdoor workers out of smoky air whenever possible.
Consider ideas to stay mentally strong while staying inside.
  • Identify someone you can ask for help.
  • Seek out community clean air spaces.
  • Make a list of things that have helped you cope with smoke in the past.

LOCAL EFFORTS

We are working hard to promote smoke readiness in the Columbia River Gorge. 

Recently, we installed air quality monitors in Hood River and Wasco County, and made a Community Response Plan.

We also held outreach events at local schools and gathering spaces.

Learn More

RECEIVE
EMERGENCY NOTIFICATIONS

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.

FIND MY LOCAL ALERT SYSTEM (OR)FIND MY LOCAL ALERT SYSTEM (WA)

ABOUT US

Smoke Ready Gorge is a communication campaign connected to greater partnerships across the Columbia River working towards clean air for all.

Thank you to the Oregon Health Sciences Knight Cancer Institute and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for generously funding this campaign.

 

Oregon State University Extension Service

Hood River County Health Department 

 

Healthy Community Collective

Healthy Gorge Initiative