Local Air Quality Improves as Valley Struggles with Wildfire
As winds shift the Florence and Mapleton areas are benefitting. The air quality is returning to acceptable levels and the Air Quality Index is currently 102 and 93 respectively. That is expected to change and go even lower throughout the day. Air quality in the valley still continues to be hazardous as the Holiday Farm Fire continues to burn. The Oregon Department of Forestry has issued the latest updates on the fire and report that it is only 6% contained at this point. Firefighters have been assessing damage to properties and have determined that 315 structures have been destroyed, 102 report no damage and 14 are damaged. There are still over 600 structures that have yet to be evaluated and the number of destroyed buildings will likely grow when a full assessment is completed. Rain is expected in the valley late tonight into tomorrow which could help firefighting efforts.
COVID-19 Testing Affected
Wildfire efforts across Lane County have put a burden on efforts to identify COVID-19 cases. County health officials have administered fewer tests in the past two weeks as a result of resources being limited and access to individuals has been hampered. Cases however continue to mount with 11 new cases reported yesterday. The County’s total for cases is nearing the 60,000 mark. There have also been 3 new hospitalizations for the coronavirus but no new cases reported for the Florence area. Statewide there have been 184 new confirmed cases and 8 new deaths reported. The state is nearing the 30,000 case mark with 29,662 confirmed cases.
Rotarians locally and across Oregon and California have established a Fire Relief fund to help victims of the dozens of fires burning. The fund will be for immediate and long term help for rebuilding the lives of Oregonians. Donations are tax deductible through Rotary’s 501 (c) 3 foundation. A link to rotary’s website will be located with this story on the Coast Radio website.
Gas Prices Steady
There has been little change in gas prices over the past two weeks. Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon says the wildfires across the state have had some affect on keeping the price from rising. Declining demand throughout the state has caused prices to dip slightly. The average price of a gallon of regular gas in Florence has been steady at $2.45 a gallon.