‘Unhealthy’ haze prompts parks and rec closures

Thursday won't be much different than Wednesday

A view of hazy Portland, August 3 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland’s public pools are usually packed with dozens of people cooling off, especially on a day like Thursday, when more record heat is expected.

But due to unhealthy air quality in the area, Portland Parks and Recreation decided to close pools and pull all outdoor camps inside.

Portland Parks and Recreation closed down all outdoor pools on August 3 and 4 due to dangerous air quality. (KOIN)
Portland Parks and Recreation closed down all outdoor pools on August 3 and 4 due to dangerous air quality. (KOIN)

Smoke from wildfires in British Columbia have created hazy, smokey conditions in much of the metro area. The haze is expected to stick around.

Indoor pools will remain open. All camps are being pulled indoors and camps with no indoor options will be canceled. All synthetic sports fields are closed.

Several outdoor activities organized by Portland Parks and Recreation are also cancelled on Thursday and Friday. All the outdoor swimming pools will also be closed on Friday, August 4.

Matthew Van Sickle with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality tells KOIN 6 News that the air in Portland has gone from bad to worse in the last 24 hours. The DEQ’s Unhealthy Air Quality Index rating for Thursday is 174 as of 1 p.m., which is considered “unhealthy.”

“Our advisory goes until Tuesday of next week. We’ll evaluate tomorrow and figure out if we need to lift it or continue it, but we really do expect this to really improve over the weekend,” he says.

(National Weather Service)

Van Sickle recommends staying indoors and avoiding driving if possible.

Public healthy officials in Oregon say people should take precautions with the smoking air, especially if they are very young, old or have heart and lung conditions. To avoid health problems in smoke conditions, stay indoors and reduce physical activity. Doctors say if you have asthma or other respiratory problems you should avoid exercising outside for a few days, until the smoke blows away.

When it’s this hot out, it’s extra important to stay cool and hydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include feeling dizzy, cranky or extra sweaty.

Providence hospitals have seen an uptick in heat-related cases in the emergency room, but OHSU and Legacy said they haven’t. 

TriMet is again expecting delays after Wednesday’s network issues caused them to declare that no fares will be inspected.

Thursday’s rides will also be free and delays are expected due to the network issues and high temperatures.

TriMet said service would return to normal on Friday and fares will be required. MAX trains will likely slow down due to heat in the afternoon.

An Excessive Heat Warning is in place for the valley and surrounding locations through Friday night at 11 p.m. Overnight temperatures are not cooling much.

A Heat Advisory is in place for the coast through Thursday afternoon with highs likely in the upper 80s. Heat Advisory for eastern Oregon through Friday evening.

The weekend looks to drop to the lower 90s and potentially to the low 90s for Monday and Tuesday.

Head over to the KOIN 6 News Weather Center for your full forecast.

A view of hazy Portland, August 3 2017. (KOIN)