January 24, 2022

LRAPA issues ‘yellow’ air quality home heating advisory Nov. 29, 2021

LRAPA issued a home wood heating advisory for Eugene/Springfield and Oakridge through Wednesday.

LRAPA issued a home wood heating advisory for Eugene/Springfield and Oakridge through Wednesday.

YELLOW home wood heating advisory for Eugene/Springfield and Oakridge.

LANE COUNTY — The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) issued a yellow home wood heating advisory for the cities of Eugene, Springfield, and Oakridge. This advisory will begin at 4 p.m. on Monday, November 29th, and continue through Wednesday, December 1st at 4 p.m.

“We’ve had the same airmass in Lane County for a few days now,” says Travis Knudsen, Public Affairs manager for LRAPA. “Smoke from chimneys and wood stoves will remain near the surface of the earth and reduce air quality, especially in the morning when it is coldest.”

Yellow advisories are cautionary warnings, predicting poor ventilation and stagnant air. Using fireplaces and wood stoves is allowed on yellow days, but LRAPA encourages other forms of heat such as electric, propane, or natural gas. If air quality continues to degrade a red advisory may be issued prohibiting fireplace and wood stove use.

“A yellow day is a request to our community to voluntarily choose other forms of heating,” says Knudsen. “That’s not a viable option for everyone, but for those who have a secondary heat source we ask they use it instead of their wood stove for the next few days.”

LRAPA updates the Home Wood Heating Advisory daily at 2 p.m. with the next day’s advisory.

For those whose sole source of heat is a wood stove or fireplace, help prevent a red advisory by burning clean with small, hot fires. Use dry, seasoned wood and open dampers. LRAPA acknowledges many Lane County residents rely heavily on wood for their primary source of heat, economic exemptions for Eugene and Springfield are available at LRAPA’s office or online. In Oakridge they’re available on the city’s website.

Wood combustion is the biggest cause of winter-time air pollution in Lane County. Degraded air quality can trigger asthma attacks or increase negative long-term health impacts including cancer. Certain groups, such as children, seniors, pregnant women, and people with pre-existing respiratory and cardiac conditions are more vulnerable to reduced air quality.

LRAPA reminds residents that even during a yellow advisory thick, harsh smoke from a chimney can results in enforcement action and a fine. The agency forecasts pollution levels and provides the community with a daily home wood heating advisory. To check this advisory call 541-746-4328 or check LRAPA’s Home Wood Heating Advisory webpage for current advisories.

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