PORTLAND, Ore. — Overall air quality has improved across Oregon as of Tuesday morning, with many cities that were reporting unhealthy air on Monday now reporting moderate or healthy conditions — although large pockets of unhealthy air remain in central and southwest Oregon, and Cave Junction's air quality is still among the worst in the world despite improving from Monday.
Portland's air quality had already returned to good or moderate levels on Monday, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's air monitoring map, but the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood areas were under an air quality advisory due to the Camp Creek fire and other wildfires. That advisory is scheduled to lift at noon Tuesday, and the DEQ map already showed Government Camp, Hood River and The Dalles back in the healthy range Tuesday morning.
The region is set for cooler and wetter weather this week, according to KGW meteorologist Rod Hill, and officials fighting the Camp Creek Fire reported Tuesday that the weather conditions are helping to limit the spread of the fire, although they can't stop it completely due to the abundance of fuel in the Bull Run Watershed.
The U.S. Air Quality Index forecast predicts Portland's overall air quality will remain in the moderate range again on Tuesday and then improve into the good range on Wednesday. The forecast for Government Camp, The Dalles and Hood River remains moderate or unhealthy for sensitive groups on Wednesday, despite the return of healthy air on Tuesday morning.
The mix of good and moderate air quality extended all the way through the Willamette Valley down to Eugene on Tuesday, according to the Oregon DEQ map.
Central and southwest Oregon continued to deal with bad air quality on Tuesday, with with scores at monitoring stations along Highway 97 through Bend in the range of unhealthy for sensitive groups to unhealthy.
Some cities in southwest Oregon saw substantial improvements, with air quality in Grants Pass and Roseburg jumping from hazardous on Monday down to moderate on Tuesday morning. The Medford area also saw some improvement, dropping from very unhealthy to unhealthy or unhealthy for sensitive groups.
Cave Junction also improved to a rating of 336 Tuesday mid-morning, down from a high of more than 500 on Monday — but that score is still considered hazardous, and outpaces the current air quality rankings for all of the world's major cities, according to the organization IQAir.