Bad air leads to cancellations of outdoor plays and activities

Boaters, hikers, ballplayers — even theater and concert patrons — are being sidetracked by smoke from numerous fires burning around Southern Oregon.

The Bureau of Land Management closed the Rogue River's wild section to watercraft, including the Rogue River Trail that parallels the section's north bank, because of thick smoke from the triple-fire Big Windy Complex burning 25 miles northwest of Grants Pass. The complex's Big Windy, Calvert Peak and Jenny Creek fires had burned nearly 3,000 acres as of Wednesday, according to the national Fire Incident Information System.

Let us know

If you have canceled or rescheduled events because of hazardous air conditions, send information to

The smoke also forced the cancellation of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's outdoor production of "Cymbeline" Tuesday, and Wednesday's performance of "The Heart of Robin Hood" on the Elizabethan Stage.

OSF said it will make decisions about outdoor shows on a day-to-day basis, depending on the air quality. Performances in the Angus Bowmer and Thomas theaters will continue as scheduled. Find details at

The city of Medford's Wednesday night Seaons concert at Bear Creek Amphitheater was rescheduled to Aug. 28, while Junior Giants baseball games and the Park & Play program also saw Wednesday cancellations.

Decisions about additional city programs will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis, officials said.

The Josephine County Fairgrounds Market will be closed today, tonight's Ashland City Band performance at the Butler Band Shell in Lithia Park is off, and Del Rio Vineyards and Winery in Gold Hill canceled a 6 p.m. Friday show by Ashland's East Main Band. It could be rescheduled, organizers said.

In Ashland, officials will decide by 2 p.m. whether to cancel afternoon swim lessons at Daniel Meyer Pool.

Youth day camps at the Rogue Valley Family YMCA are still ongoing, but activities have moved indoors to keep youth out of the smoke.

"We basically have told our parents that we're moving from outdoor field trips to indoor field trips," said YMCA Executive Director Brad Russell.

Medford airport officials said the smoke has not hindered flight traffic. Airport Director Bern Case said visibility was at about 3,000 feet Wednesday afternoon. Visibility starts to get worrisome at about 1,800 feet, he said.

"The commercial flights are doing OK, visibility's good enough for them," he said.

Britt Festivals said its Classical Festival will open Friday as planned. The 90-piece Britt Orchestra moved into Jacksonville Elementary School's auditorium for rehearsals Wednesday because of the smoky conditions.

"Rain or shine — or smoke — we're going on, absolutely," said Britt Executive Director Donna Briggs. "The show goes on."

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or

Reader Reaction
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form. New comments are only accepted for two weeks from the date of publication.