According to the Environmental Protection Agency, hazardous air quality is a health warning of emergency conditions, with the entire population more likely to be affected by exposure, not just groups of people who are sensitive to poor air quality.
Public health officials advise that folks stay indoors, avoid exercise and close windows and doors. Set air conditioners to recirculate air if possible, and use a HEPA filter.
People with heart or lung disease, those who have experienced a stroke and others with pertinent health concerns should consult a health care provider about precautions they might need to take.
Council for the Homeless asks anyone who is homeless and needing shelter or housing assistance during these hazardous conditions to call the Housing Hotline at 360-695-9677 to learn about available resources. The hotline is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
To aid the homeless community, Living Hope Church in central Vancouver is moving its tent encampment indoors until air quality improves. The city-sanctioned encampment has been in the church’s parking lot to provide a safe space for people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Christian church, which occupies a former Kmart at 2711 N.E. Andresen Road, announced Thursday night it’s open to wildfire evacuees, said Pastor Brian Norris. The Sikh community, which has provided meals for the homeless at the church most Sundays for the last few months, offered to make additional meals for evacuees if needed.
In a series of Tweets on Friday, the National Weather Service Portland expressed hope that air quality could improve within the next week. There are three specific reasons for optimism.
The first reason is that the dry east winds are over, and that the worst fire conditions should be done. Marine air is also expected to gradually work inland the next few days and push the worst smoke out of the Portland area.
And the biggest reason for optimism is that it’s expected to rain at some point next week, which could boost efforts to quell wildfires and help get rid of smoke.
Forecasts show multiple days next week with at least a 20 percent chance of rain. Tuesday has a 40 percent chance of rain, with morning showers expected.