Air Quality

Credit Marvin Vetter / ODF

The Red Cross says it’s handed out about 20,000  respirator masks so far in southern Oregon communities plagued by wildfire smoke.The state continues to measure unhealthy levels of smoke pollution in places like Cave Junction and Grants Pass.

Smoke from wildfires is creating poor breathing conditions in parts of the Northwest.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says the air has reached "very unhealthy" levels in parts of southwest Oregon. That's due to a series of wildfires that have led to some evacuations but so far have caused very little property damage.

VASHON ISLAND, Wash. - More than a century after the discovery of electricity, billions -- yes, billions -- of people still heat and cook with wood fires. In the developing world, indoor air pollution from smoke is blamed for nearly 2 million deaths per year.

We're focusing on the dangers of wood smoke as part of a public media collaboration with Investigate West and Seattle TV station KCTS. Correspondent Tom Banse reports on how the Northwest became home to a cluster of non-profits that aim to sell millions of cleaner-burning cook stoves to the world's poor.