Hazy Last Gasp of Summer—Labor Day Weekend at Smith Rock


September 4, 2017

While Smith Rock has been spared (for the most part) the raining ash and choking air of our neighboring areas, Labor Day weekend at the park has been a hazy experience. The park has also been subjected to the unhealthy air quality from some of the 700 fires currently burning in Oregon.

Not your typical holiday weekend parking lot with the smoky conditions

Not your typical holiday weekend parking lot with the smoky conditions

Normal crisp views of the park's rock spires are visible from here but obscured by haze

Normal crisp views of the park's rock spires are visible from here but obscured by haze

While Saturday morning was still blue until around lunch time, by early afternoon the skies turned dark and blotted out the sun. While temperatures were tamped down as a result, we'll take the heat over smoke any day.

Rim Rock Trail view of Misery Ridge Trail and a smoky Monument area

Rim Rock Trail view of Misery Ridge Trail and a smoky Monument area

Oregon Smoke Information's blog spot models show a persistent ridge of high pressure over the entire state combined with hot temperatures, keeping the smoke trapped in the lower layers of the atmosphere. Central Oregon will experience some of the best air quality (relative to others) in the state on Labor Day.

On Tuesday, the inversion described above will combine with east winds to keep the harshest smoky conditions mostly on the west side of the Cascades. Central Oregon should continue to have light to moderate conditions.

Oregon Smoke blogspot Labor Day model for average smoke conditions

Oregon Smoke blogspot model for Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017

Another good source to check air quality for the enduring fire season is Air Now, from the EPA. Here's a snapshot of the AQI (air quality index) as of 9:00 AM PDT.  Note that while the air may appear only hazy and not smell like smoke, our AQI is Red today Monday, Sept. 5, or Unhealthy. (That purple spot of Very Unhealthy to the left of us is Eugene.)
 

So while the state doesn't report AQI levels for Smith Rock specifically, between the Oregon Smoke Info and Air Now links you should be able to figure out whether or not to go for that run in the park.

Combine their info with what you see on our Webcam. We'll do our best to give periodic updates on our Facebook page as well.