Friday’s predicted rain will not wash away the smoke

Oregonians will need to continue to guard against deteriorating air quality this weekend as the rain and cold front forecast for Friday will not wash away the smoke, officials said Thursday.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality extended an air quality advisory to Polk, Yamhill and Deschutes counties due to smoke from the Nakia Creek and Siouxon fires in southwest Washington and the Cedar Creek fire near Oakridge. The agency also expanded its previous advisory to Columbia, Clackamas, Douglas, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah and Washington counties.

DEQ officials said the bad air is expected to last at least until Monday. In response, Clackamas County has opened three emergency air quality response centers. And Multnomah County is urging Portland residents to seek emergency help at 18 libraries that will remain open tonight.

Some schools have delayed opening or are closed due to poor air quality, while others are keeping students indoors and closing all windows. Some sporting activities have also been cancelled.

Officials urged Oregon residents to stay indoors, keep windows closed and use high-efficiency filters in indoor ventilation systems. They emphasized that cloth, dust and surgical masks do not protect against the particles in the smoke. People most sensitive to smoky air include infants and toddlers, people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and pregnant women.

– Gosia Wozniacka; gwozniacka@oregonian.com; @gosiawozniacka

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