Weather experts say air quality will worsen in Portland area as more smoke moves in

Smoke is visible on the Portland skyline on July 30, 2018. Photo by Mary Loos

Thick wildfire smoke made its way into Portland again Monday.

The National Weather Service estimates there are more than 100 wildfires burning in Eastern Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

Last week, it was the fires burning in Washington and California that brought smoke from the north and south to Portland. This time, meteorologists say it's Canada. Winds are pushing smoke from the north into Portland.

Usually, meteorologists say smoke won't travel that far, but conditions right now are creating the perfect storm.

"We are just getting the conditions conducive to bringing smoke down from the north. Even though the fires aren’t close, the smoke is staying low, close to the ground and it's filtering through," Meteorologist David Elson with the National Weather Service said.

It’s not just Portland that’s bogged in. Yakima, the Tri Cites and Seattle in Washington are also blanketed in smoke.

The NWS issued an air quality advisory for all of Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is in effect until noon Wednesday.

Oregon DEQ says advisories are in place to make sure people pay attention and take care of themselves.

"We put out an advisory to show them it's unhealthy to be outdoors in hopes they will limit activity and take precautions to protect their health," Laura Gleim with Oregon DEQ said.

The smoke started to move into the area Sunday, but experts say it will be worse Monday and in the coming days.

"Right now, there are various monitors in Portland showing unhealthy -- that means everyone could be affected, others are showing moderate, meaning the sensitive population is at risk," Gleim said.

Anyone concerned about the air quality can get updates on an Environmental Protection Agency app called Smoke Sense. It’s a citizen science project, so you’ll need to answer a few questions when you download it. But once you have it, you can get the latest air quality numbers and see what the current air quality index is.

You can also see the smoke and fires near you.

Prolonged exposure to the bad air can be dangerous, and the hazards increase the more time you spend outside. You can check current air quality conditions on the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) website.

The worsening air quality caused Portland Public Schools to suspend all outdoor athletic practices Monday until further notice.

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