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'Wildfire smoke back into Lane County overnight': Air quality alert in effect until Sunday

"Drainage flows from the east have brought the wildfire smoke back into Lane County overnight," the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency said in a statement Friday. "Air quality monitors in Eugene are seeing spikes into the 'Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups' levels Friday morning." (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. - It's ba-ack!

"Drainage flows from the east have brought the wildfire smoke back into Lane County overnight," the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency said in a statement Friday. "Air quality monitors in Eugene are seeing spikes into the 'Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups' levels Friday morning."

The agency issued an air quality advisory for wildfire smoke, in effect through 6 p.m. Sunday.

As the day went on, pollution levels spiked.

As a result, the forecast for air quality hit the red zone: "Unhealthy" for all people.

RELATED | CDC: Smoke from wildfires can 'get into deep part of your lungs and even into your blood'

A change to cooler, wetter fall-like weather is in the forecast for Sunday night through at least Wednesday next week.

“Residents who are sensitive to smoke are advised to use caution when participating in outdoor activities or to wait out the smoke for a couple days,” said Jo Niehaus, spokesperson for the agency. “We are expecting more smoke impacts until Sunday when rain is predicted.”

The problematic pollutant in wildfire smoke is "PM 2.5" - shorthand for particulate matter of 2.5 micrometers or less.

The EPA says "numerous scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems," including:

  • premature death in people with heart or lung disease
  • nonfatal heart attacks
  • irregular heartbeat
  • aggravated asthma
  • decreased lung function
  • increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing.

The EPA says the smoke is affecting you if you experience "burning eyes, a runny nose, cough, phlegm, wheezing and difficulty breathing."

RELATED | 'Dust masks aren't enough!' What you need to know about health risks from wildfire smoke

If you experience symptoms, get out of the smoke, EPA says.

DEVELOPING STORY | This story will be updated

AIR QUALITY | Current Forecasts for Lane County

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