Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by these devastating wildfires across our state. We pulled together some resources we have found helpful in ensuring that we all stay as informed and safe as possible.
The State of Oregon has put together a list of resources for those impacted by wildfires, including how to sign up for emergency alerts by county, emergency lodging, road conditions and more. This is the central hub for all official information: https://wildfire.oregon.gov/
Where to check your air quality
Poor air quality is a big threat to public health. According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality:
“Smoke is made up of primarily small particles, gases and water vapor, with trace amounts of hazardous air pollutants. The most harmful are the small particles, or particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (100 micrometers is the diameter of a human hair). These particles can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, damaging lung tissue and causing respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
Wildfire can be a significant source of air pollution in Oregon and can pose a major health risk. Symptoms from short-term smoke exposure can range from scratchy throat, cough, irritated sinuses, headaches, runny nose and stinging eyes. Persons with asthma, emphysema, congestive heart disease and other existing medical conditions can have more serious reactions. The elderly and children are also high-risk groups.”
Be sure to check your local air quality regularly and follow health and safety guidelines.
Aid organizations to support
The Red Cross has opened shelters for people fleeing fires. They have asked that anyone looking to support make a financial donation and are not accepting supplies at this time. You can donate on their website or by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. If you’d rather volunteer your time, you can visit redcross.org/volunteer.
About 3,000 firefighters are currently battling the immense fires across the state. Our courageous wildland firefighters are putting themselves in incredible danger. You can support the families of firefighters who have been injured or lost their lives through the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
Take action on climate change
For decades, scientists have warned that we can expect more extensive and severe wildfires as the planet warms. We can no longer ignore the clear stamp of climate change as we watch the wildfires of 2020 destroy our incredible state. We have to do everything we can to ensure that we take meaningful steps to tackle climate change here in Oregon and across the country by transitioning away from fossil fuels, embracing clean energy and building a cleaner, greener future for our kids. We want to let our elected leaders know that tackling climate change has to be a top priority.
Join Oregon Climate Defenders and add your voice with thousands of Oregonians across the state calling for climate action.
Write a letter or email to your members of Congress and state legislators in support of strong action on climate change. We can’t wait any longer. Here are some tips to get you started.
We are keeping everyone in our thoughts. Please stay safe.
State Director, Environment Oregon
As director of Environment Oregon, Celeste develops and runs campaigns to win real results for Oregon's environment. She has worked on issues ranging from preventing plastic pollution, stopping global warming, defending clean water, and protecting our beautiful places. Celeste's organizing has helped to reduce kids' exposure to lead in drinking water at childcare facilities in Oregon, encourage transportation electrification, ban single-use plastic grocery bags, defend our bedrock environmental laws and more. She is also the author of the children's book, Myrtle the Turtle, empowering kids to prevent plastic pollution. Celeste lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and two daughters, where they frequently enjoy the bounty of Oregon's natural beauty.