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Portland's air quality deteriorates with wildfire smoke and hot weather

Air quality in much of the Willamette Valley measured "moderate" on Monday, August 28, 2017. Wildfire smoke is creating haze. (SBG photo) 

PORTLAND, Ore. – Smoke from wildfires in northern California and southern Oregon is creating a problem for some people in the Portland area.

The Oregon DEQ says most of the valley will have a moderate air quality on Monday.

That can change as things warm up. Much of Western Oregon is under a heat advisory through Monday night, prompting local municipalities to open up cooling centers.

Places from Sherwood up to Vancouver could see unsafe air quality.

Experts expect the smoke will linger in the Willamette Valley for the next couple days.

A lot of the smoke is coming from the Chetco Bar Fire in Southwest Oregon, where nearly 108,000 acres have burned.

If the air quality moves into the unhealthy levels, Dr. Akram Khan at OHSU believes children, seniors and sensitive groups of people should stay in side.

The poor air could make it difficult for people to breathe.

"As air quality gets worse even healthy people should stop exercising outside because it can exacerbate the symptoms in your body," said Dr. Khan.

For others like Bonnie Catalan, the smoke hurts her eyes.

"Grainy, just kind of a grainy dry feeling in my eyes," said Catalan. "Our air quality is so bad right now and its affecting people's eyes, breathing, and so forth. I have two daughters who are asthmatic, so that is a concern for me."

If you have an inhaler, Dr. Kahn adds, "Make sure to get inhalers updated if they are expired get a new one."

Monday, a heat advisory is in effect until 8 p.m. for many parts of Oregon, creating additional problems for people with health conditions.

"We’ve had it for really a large part of the summer because we were getting it from Vancouver BC first and now we are getting it homegrown," said Portlander Frani Susak.

Forecasters say things should cool down Tuesday and the air quality should improve.

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