Regions of Klickitat, Hood River and Wasco counties are being impacted by unhealthy air quality brought about by increased wildfire smoke and excessive heat. Last week in Oregon, DEQ air quality ranking placed Hood River (104) and The Dalles (116) air quality as “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” Pendleton, with an index of 155, was ranked as unhealthy.

Air quality can change rapidly and can vary throughout the counties.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), wildfire smoke can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs while making it difficult to breathe or induce coughing or wheezing. Wildfire smoke can affect healthy people without any previously diagnosed health conditions. Community members with asthma, COPD, lung or heart disease have an increased risk of symptoms or worsening of their disease. Pregnant women are also at greater risk.