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‘Moderate’ smoke still poses risks, affects teams

Smoke clogs Cow Valley Tuesday afternoon. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

VALE – Malheur County has avoided the worst of the smoky conditions that have made life miserable across western states from wild fires this summer.

The county has stayed within the “moderate” range of the Air Quality Index used by the federal Environmental Protection Agency most of fire season. People who are “usually sensitive” to air pollution may experience health concerns within that range.

That’s compared to southern Oregon, which has been within the “unhealthy” range of the index for weeks. “Everyone may experience health effects” within that range, according to the index. Areas of southern Oregon have hit the “very unhealthy” range several times in recent weeks.

Last week, northern Malheur County reached the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range, however.

The number of people coming into . . .