Wildfire Air Quality

The air quality in our region is unhealthy due to smoke from all the wildfires.

The air quality in our region is unhealthy due to smoke from all the wildfires.

It is important to limit your exposure by staying indoors and knowing the symptoms of smoke exposure so you can seek help if you’re not feeling well. 

Wildfire smoke is especially troublesome because it can be a complex mixture of air pollutants, including gas and fine ash particles that can cause lung inflammation and irritation.

Symptoms of wildfire smoke exposure can include: 

  • headaches, fatigue
  • watery or dry eyes
  • coughing or wheezing 
  • throat/lung or sinus infection
  • shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, asthma attacks 
  • irregular heartbeat, chest pain

Those at highest risk to smoke exposure include: 

  • people with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and lung disease
  • people with asthma or diabetes 
  • Pregnant women, adults 65 and older, and children under the age of 18

What you can do to stay safe:

If you can see or smell smoke, you should avoid exposure by staying indoors, avoiding strenuous activities even when indoors, keeping windows and doors closed, setting air conditioners to recirculate air and using air filters. 

If you must drive, keep car windows rolled up and use in-car air conditioning on recirculating.

Limit tobacco use and other smoke inhalants. 

Other things to avoid until the air quality improves include cooking foods in ways that are likely to increase the smoke in your house, including using gas stoves and deep fryers. It’s also best to avoid burning of any kind — fireplace fires to candles. 

Vacuuming can also stir up extra dust and particulates.

Cloth face coverings do not provide adequate protection against smoke. N95 face masks offer more protection, but it’s safer to stay indoors. N95 masks are not recommended for children because they don’t tend to fit properly.

Is it COVID-19 or smoke inhalation?

Respiratory symptoms such as dry cough, sore throat and difficulty breathing are common to both wildfire smoke exposure and COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

If you are experiencing symptoms unrelated to smoke exposure such as, fever or chills, muscle or body aches or diarrhea, you should contact your health care provider to see if COVID testing is needed.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, you should seek prompt medical attention by calling 911 or calling ahead to the nearest emergency facility.

Office Hours:


Clackamas County Call Center

Regional Information

Clackamas County Crisis and Support Line

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Related Events