Air Quality Alert
The Air Quality Index for Florence took a sharp turn towards the better after a change in wind direction began yesterday afternoon. Levels that far exceeded LRAPA’s AQI chart permeated the coast yesterday causing Hazardous Air alerts for most of the Oregon Coast as wildfires continue to plague Oregon. This morning the AQI from the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency was still in an Unhealthy zone with the index at 165 for Florence. Mapleton however is still in the Hazardous range at 568. A separate air monitoring apparatus from airnow.gov lists Florence’s air quality at 89, a stark difference from the LRAPA reporting. On the same reporting site Mapleton is listed at 431 prompting an alert for people to remain indoors and limit physical activity. Wind activity for the area is expected to help air quality with forecast winds from the west southwest this afternoon between 5 and 7 miles per hour.
Maple Street Closed
Maple Street at the intersection of highway 101 will be closed as the gateway monuments are currently being installed in the area. Crew will be working over the next several days to complete the installation. The monuments are the last piece of the ReVision Florence project to be completed. The almost 9 million dollar project began in March 2019 and due to several issues including the current health pandemic and construction delays the project went past its expected deadline of January 2020.
Oregon Coronavirus Numbers
The death toll rises once again for Lane County as the coronavirus adds its 12 victim. The latest is a 68 year old male with underlying health conditions. There have also been 11 new COVID-19 cases reported for Lane County bringing the total number of cases to date to 814. There are no new cases reported for the Florence area, that total remains at 20. Statewide the number of cases are show a sharp decrease with new numbers for yesterday at 125. There were 8 new deaths listed though bringing that total to 494. According to the Oregon Health Authority all but one had underlying health conditions and they are awaiting confirmation on the remaining case.
While many on social media are speculating that the current wildfire situation in Oregon is the result of multiple arsonists, there is no confirmed data to support it. While there have been several arrests in different areas including the Sweet Creek Milepost 2 fire not all fires are believed to be intentional. Yesterday a fire started in the trailer bin at the transfer station and according to one source it was not intentionally set. Firefighters from across the state are working diligently and in harm’s way to try and stop the multiple fires. Yesterday Lincoln City was the latest to face level 3 evacuation notices as a fire at Echo Mountain move in on the town. Traffic was backed up for hours as people headed towards an evacuation site in Newport. Police have shut down Oregon 18 and U.S. 101 is closed from Gleneden Beach to Lincoln City.