Meira Gebel
May 22, 2023 - Climate

Record Oregon heat creates fuel for wildfires

A photo of downtown Portland from the Central Eastside, the sky thick with hazy wildfire smoke.

Remember this? Photo: Rebecca Smeyne/Bloomberg via Getty Images

May is Wildfire Preparedness Month, and in recent years, Oregon has seen a significant increase in the size of wildfires.

Why it matters: In part due to climate change, wildfire season across the West Coast has become longer, hotter and drier, resulting in devastating damage to public land and private property.

Emily Harris
May 17, 2023 - Business

EVs' share of Portland-area new cars surges

Data: Oregon Department of Transportation; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Oregon Department of Transportation; Chart: Axios Visuals

Battery-only electric vehicles (EVs) accounted for 18% of monthly new vehicle registrations across Portland's three counties in February, up from just over 9% a year before.

  • Plug-in hybrids kept, well, plugging along, hovering around 3% of new vehicle registrations over the past year.

Portland's record-breaking heat wave continues

A photo of three people in intertubes along the Willamette River in Portland.

Tubers at Sellwood Riverfront Park during a heat wave in 2021. Photo: Maranie Staab/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Forecasters are predicting Portland will see more warm weather this week after several days of record-breaking heat.

Why it matters: The early heat wave that began Friday has seen temperature records broken from Washington and Oregon to Alberta. Canadian firefighters have been tackling dozens of wildfires for days, from British Columbia up to northern Canada.

Portland allergy season lengthens with climate change

Data: Climate Central; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Pacific Northwest's temperate climate usually means allergy season arrives here earlier than the rest of the country. Not this year. Due to ample rain and late-season freezing temperatures, things are kicking into high gear right about now.

Why it matters: Allergy season in Portland increased by 26 days on average between 1970 and 2021, per an analysis from Climate Central, a nonprofit climate news organization, Alex Fitzpatrick and Alice Feng report.

Fires have worsened Portland's air quality

Data: EPA; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Air quality in the Portland metro area, as measured by fine particle pollution, has gotten worse overall since 2012 but still falls within current safe ranges, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

Why it matters: Fine particles, generated from fossil fuel burning and other sources, can enter our bodies when we breathe, making their way to the lungs or bloodstream and causing myriad health problems.


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