Bulletin Staff Report

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality advisory Friday that covers much of the state, including low-lying portions of Central Oregon, through the beginning of next week.

The advisory includes the cities of Bend, Redmond and Madras, along with other low-lying areas of Central and north-central Oregon, said Katherine Benenati, public affairs specialist for DEQ. Eastern Oregon and southern portions of the Willamette Valley are also covered by the advisory, according to the state environmental agency.

Forecasters attribute the deteriorating air quality to an extended period of stagnant air, with little mixing between pockets of warm and cool air. When these conditions are in place, smoke can be trapped near ground level, according to DEQ.

For that reason, the agency is asking people in the affected areas to refrain from outdoor burning, and to use alternatives to wood stoves if other heating options are available. Smoke pollution has been linked to coughing, aggravated asthma, bronchitis and other conditions, and health officials recommend that young children, pregnant women and other sensitive groups limit outdoor activity, according to DEQ.

The advisory is expected to remain in place until Monday in low-lying areas of Marion, Linn, Benton and Lane counties, as well as Malheur, Harney and Baker Counties. In Central Oregon, as well as in the Blue Mountain foothills and in Columbia and John Day river basins, the bad air may linger until Wednesday, Benenati said.