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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Condon schools closed Monday due to air quality; Wheeler County schools remain open

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Air Quality expected to improve significantly Wednesday

The air quality in Gilliam, Wheeler and Sherman County has continued to get worse over the past week as wildfires rage across the state.

The Condon School District chose to close schools on Monday, September 14 as air quality forecasts continue to paint a bleak picture. Schools in Wheeler County will remain open, according to Fossil School Superintendent Jim Smith. Conditions are expected to improve, starting on Wednesday.

With an Air Quality Index (AQI) score of 479 on Saturday in Condon and Fossil, residents experienced conditions that were considered to be hazardous. Mitchell and Spray recorded similar numbers, though the index in Moro and Grass Valley were much lower. Although the AQI improved to 353 on Sunday, the Condon School District moved to close school on Monday due to the hazardous conditions. Weather forecasts show that similar conditions will be present on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

The massive amount of smoke that is blanketing the west coast has impacted towns large and small throughout western and central Oregon. As fires rage across Oregon, California and Washington, it has become unsafe in many places to venture outdoors.

Weed, Californian had an AQI score of 1184 on Sunday, which was one of the highest in the world. Madras and Salem had the poorest air quality on Sunday, with an AQI above 600.

When AQI scores eclipse 150, it is considered hazardous and the public is encouraged to stay indoors or to refrain from outdoor exercise.

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