November 29, 2002 11:00 pm

Due to existing stagnant air conditions, the National Weather Service has extended its Air Stagnation Advisory for Eastern Oregon through today.

This advisory pertains to the

La Grande and Bend-Redmond areas. Some of the other cities affected include Pendleton, Hermiston, Baker City and Ontario.

The NWS will continue to evaluate these conditions on a daily basis.

"The air quality throughout the Columbia Gorge Basin is not considered critical at this point," said Tom Hack, of the DEQ Air Quality Program in Pendleton. "However, as the NWS has predicted a stagnant weather pattern for the next several days, it is important

to keep pollution levels down in the meantime."

To protect the health of those who have increased sensitivity to air pollution, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is asking residents in the affected advisory area to avoid using fireplaces and woodstoves unless absolutely necessary, refrain from outdoor burning, and limit driving and vehicle idling. The advisory will be in effect until stagnant weather conditions change.

Wintertime pollution from air stagnation comes mainly from industrial, car exhaust and wood smoke. Under these conditions, fine particles in smoke trapped at ground level can be inhaled deeply into lungs and damage delicate lung tissues.Young children, pregnant women, people with asthma and other lung or heart conditions, and people over 50 are at greatest risk and should consider restricting their outdoor activities until the weather changes.

Residents of populated areas throughout the state should monitor local news media for information about voluntary or mandatory woodstove restrictions. If current conditions persist, local authorities may impose restrictions in some areas. The woodstove advisories will also reflect improvements in air quality if the stagnation lifts.

If burning wood is your only source of heat, burn hot fires using dry wood to lessen pollution.

Call the National Weather Service at 541-276-7832 or see on the Web for air quality advisories throughout the region.

For more information about smoke pollution, visit on the Web.