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MailTribune.com
  • Large Oregon wildfires leave valley in a haze

    Local fires aren't emitting much smoke, official says
  • Smoke from forest fires in northern and Eastern Oregon has been drifting into Jackson County over the past few days, but weather patterns should begin clearing the air by Wednesday.
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  • Smoke from forest fires in northern and Eastern Oregon has been drifting into Jackson County over the past few days, but weather patterns should begin clearing the air by Wednesday.
    A north-to-south air flow has been bringing with it smoke from other parts of the state.
    By Wednesday, a shift in weather will bring winds from the west and along with it cooler temperatures, said Chuck Glaser of the National Weather Service in Medford.
    Fire danger is still considered extreme by fire officials because of hot, dry conditions.
    Even though it's been hot recently, Jackson County has not surpassed 100 degrees this year.
    "Chances are very slim we won't get one 100-degree day," said Glaser.
    On Sept. 4, 7, 9 and 10, the temperature hit 99 degrees at the Medford airport. Sunday's high was 98.
    The normal high temperature for this time of year is about 85.
    Glaser said the latest date the valley had a 100-degree day in its history was Sept. 28, 2003.
    Paul Galloway, a spokesman for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, said the 467-acre Little Butte blaze located about 16 miles east of Medford and southwest of Fish Lake is probably not adding much to the smoke blanketing the valley.
    He said the fire is mostly contained as crews continue to make sure lines are secure and hot spots are mopped up.
    "The fires locally don't seem to be putting out a lot of smoke," he said.
    Firefighters are also mopping up four small Twin Knob fires in the High Cascades Ranger District about 23 miles northeast of Prospect.
    The 245-acre Red Cone fire complex continues to burn about 10 miles north of Crater Lake National Park and could be adding some smoke into the valley.
    Despite the smoke, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality reports that air quality was good Sunday.
    The only area with unhealthful air in the state was Big Lake near Sisters, the DEQ reported.
    Reach Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email dmann@mailtribune.com.
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