Washington County issues “Red Day Alert” for poor air quality

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department

Washington County has issued a “red day alert” due to poor air quality. Earlier today, the County declared a “yellow day,” but air quality has declined throughout the day and is expected to worsen this evening.

In accordance with ordinances adopted in 2015, residents of unincorporated Washington County and the cities of Hillsboro and Cornelius are prohibited from using their wood stoves, wood stove inserts and fireplaces until noon on Thursday, November 15. The restrictions will either be lifted or extended at that time.

All Washington County residents are encouraged to avoid burning unnecessarily at this time, even if the ordinance does not directly apply to them.

Residents may burn wood if it is the only heat source for their home, or if they qualify as low-income and need to burn wood for financial reasons. These individuals are asked to burn only dry, seasoned wood. More information on the safest and most efficient ways to burn wood is available at www.epa.gov/burnwise.

Air inversions, like we are experiencing now, can trap wood smoke pollution near the ground, where people breathe the smoke particles deep into their lungs.

“Some people, especially children, older adults, and individuals with lung or heart disease, are more sensitive to air pollution,” says Washington County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Christina Baumann. “By not adding to the problem, we can help protect the health of our community.”

Multnomah County is issuing a similar alert.

Sign up to receive red day alerts via text, phone or email at www.publicalerts.org and visit www.co.washington.or.us/air for more information. The daily air quality status is also available by calling 503-846-8744.

Media Contact:

Wendy Gordon, Communications Coordinator/PIO