Clean air is important and no one likes smoke. Even small amounts of smoke can be harmful to people with sensitive health including infants, people over 65, and those with heart and lung disease. Learn more about the health effects of wood smoke here. Educating community members on when there may be smoke in a given area and how to protect themselves is an important part of smoke management. Oregon's Department of Forestry (ODF) and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recommend that communities that are located within smoke sensitive areas develop a community response plan and program. The following information on crafting a community response plan has been brought to us in partnership with DEQ:
Crafting a Community Response Plan + Toolkit
The goal of community response plans are to promote communication between the entities that conduct prescribed fire, the local public health authority, vulnerable populations and the general public.
A community response plan should be tailored to the unique needs of the community that it serves. At a minimum, the plan must include:
Oakridge Air, a program that supports the Oakridge-Westfire community in Oregon when it comes to improving air quality, designed a toolkit on how to create Community Response Plans. They have shared this toolkit as a shared google folder:
About our partners, DEQ, and the Smoke Management Program
The Oregon Smoke Management Program is a comprehensive program that DEQ developed in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Health Authority. The Smoke Management Program is implemented by the Oregon Department of Forestry with assistance from DEQ. The goal of the program is to safeguard public health by utilizing prescribed forest burning to reduce the buildup of forest fuels, maintain forest health, and reduce health risks associated with smoke from large uncontrolled wildfires. These planned fires are ignited when fire danger is low and weather conditions are favorable for protecting communities from potential smoke. Learn more about the program by visiting the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Burning & Smoke Management webpage.
Additional Smoke Management Resources
- Statewide Communication Framework
- Oregon Health Authority – Wildfire & Smoke Webpage
- Smoke Management Advisory Committee
- Improving Indoor Air Quality during Wildfires
- Department of Environmental Quality (DEQs) Smoke Information Page
- Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Wildfire and Smoke Resources
- Oregon State University (OSU) Fire Program
Creating a Room Air Purifier Program: A How-To-Guide