Fog holds wood smoke down in valley

EUGENE, Ore. - Fog in your throat? It's not punny.

Fog held wood smoke from home fires and slash burning down near the ground in the southern Willamette and Cascade foothills on Monday.

Air quality in Oakridge shot up from moderate to unhealth for sensitive groups, according to the Lane Regional Air Portection Agency. Air monitors recorded 107 parts per million of particulate matter, up from a high of 69 Sunday.

That means people with existing breathing problems could experience problems due to air pollution.

The Eugene/Springfield air quality hit pushed up into the Moderate category with 79 parts per million of particulate. Sunday hit 80 ppm.

The National Weather Service expected the fog to burn off by mid-morning Monday.

Even with sunny skies, the colder weather at night has invited more home heating fires - and held more of the smoke in the air.

"Over the last week we have seen pollution levels spike overnight," said Sally Markos, LRAPA spokesperson.

"The night time spikes in pollution are a strong signature of residential wood heating. Even though we've had sunny afternoons, particulate levels start to increase in the early evening when it cools off and wood stove use begins. Smoke levels peak around midnight and go down when fires go out."