On Wednesday, the “unhealthy” air quality values in Portland, Oregon, were among the worst in the country. Although some previous increases in air quality have been caused by wildfires in the area and elsewhere, this time the cause was a manufacturing fire one hour north of the city.
According to the Longview Fire Department, a fire broke out at Nippon Dynawave Packaging, a paper factory, on Tuesday night in Longview, Washington. As of Wednesday afternoon, the fire was still raging.
Paul C. Loikith, a meteorologist and an associate professor in the geography department at Portland State University, stated that the plume of smoke from that fire has been directed at the metro area since last evening.
On Wednesday, the Air Quality Index in Portland exceeded 170 for a brief period in the middle of the day, falling into the “unhealthy” level. Experts stated the fire at the paper mill was the reason the A.Q.I. increased in the Portland area, even though wildfires have recently been the cause of air quality problems across the United States.
Fire at Paper Mill in Longview Produces Large Amounts of Smoke
According to Dylan Darling, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, paper mills frequently have a significant number of wood chips on site to create paper, which may have contributed to the enormous amount of smoke from the fire.
A variety of paper goods are produced by Nippon Dynawave Packaging, some of which end up as milk cartons or take-out coffee cups.
Here is the tweet below confirms the news:
The wood chip facility, which is mainly outside, is where the fire started. According to Brian Wood, the organization’s director of support services, a number of wood chip stacks that were on fire had each a diameter of nearly a football field.
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Longview Fire Still Burning, Cause Unknown
The first report of the fire was received at 6:39 p.m. on Tuesday, and as of Wednesday afternoon, firefighters were still battling to put it out, according to Longview fire marshal Jon Dunaway.
We anticipate fighting this fire for the ensuing couple of hours, and possibly well into the morning, added Mr. Dunaway. According to him, the cause of the fire is unknown. During the fire, no one was hurt.
Because the fire has into the “smoldering” stage, there is still a lot of smoke even though personnel are working to put it out, according to Mr. Dunaway. The smoke cools as firemen use water to douse the flames, which causes it to remain nearer the ground.
As of Wednesday morning, the smoke had moved east of the city’s center, and most of the metro area’s air quality was improving, according to Mr. Loikith.
The duration of the poor air quality is unknown. According to him, it will probably depend on how long it takes to put out the fire.
Southwest Clean Air Agency reports that Clark and Cowlitz Counties in Washington, both of which are located north of Portland, are under an air pollution advisory through Friday due to the smoke.
In Multnomah County, where Portland is located, the health department also released a warning on Wednesday, citing “poor air quality from structure fires.”
Residents are prohibited from burning wood, including in fireplaces, wood stoves, and outside appliances, according to the advice. When the advisory would be lifted was not specified by the department.
The consequences of the ongoing paper mill fire will probably persist longer, according to an email from Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality. There was also a sizable structure fire at a vacant old Kmart in Northeast Portland that had an impact on air quality Wednesday morning.
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