Smoke from southern Oregon wildfires creates haze over Eugene
EUGENE, Ore. - The smoke in the air over Eugene had phones ringing off the hook at the Oregon Department of Forestry on Monday.
So where is all that smoke coming from?
There are no new fires in our area, according to ODF dispatch.
Winds have been consistently out of the south all morning Monday, said Travis Knudsen, KVAL meteorologist.
A NOAA satellite loop shows the movement Monday morning:
That means smoke from the Stouts Fire east of Canyonville and the Collier Butte fire west of Grants Pass - or even farther south from fires in Calfornia.
Knudsen said the wind is forecast to shift and come more out of the West, which could help clear out the smoke as the day goes on Monday.
Many people called the newsroom - and emergency dispatch centers - with reports of smoke on Monday.
KVAL.com saw an uptick in visitors from people using search engines for queries like "forest fires,cottage grove,or" and "where are the fires burning near eugene oregon".
However, residents are right to be concerned: forecasters have issued a Red Flag Warning for much of Western Oregon, including the western slope of the Cascades. Thunderstorms in the forecast could spark new wildfires in our area.
"The smoke from wildland fires down south is being pulled into the Southern Willamette Valley and the 911 center is receiving a large call volume," said Chad Minter, chief of the Lane County Fire Defense Board. "Residents of Lane County should call 911 if they see a column of smoke or dark colored smoke in a specific area. At this point they should not be calling 911 for just a haze in the area because that is due to the southern Oregon fires."
The smoke registered on air monitors maintained by the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency:
The smoke pushed air quality from the low end of good to the edge of moderate in Eugene in a matter of hours.