AllCare Health’s offices in Medford and Grants Pass are giving away masks to those who want to protect themselves from wildfire smoke.

Anyone can get a free mask; they do not have to be an AllCare Health member, according to a press release.

The masks provide protection against smoke and ultra-fine particles. Such masks are also available at hardware stores, but be sure they're labeled N95 or P100.

Those with respiratory diseases should wear a mask when outside or stay indoors to protect themselves from the smoke in the air. People with lung or heart diseases, such as congestive heart failure, angina, COPD, emphysema or asthma are at a higher risk of health problems from smoke. Seniors and children are also more at risk for health problems when exposed to dangerous smoke.

Wildfires ringing the Rogue Valley have caused poor air quality since Aug. 13. In the last 24 hours, air in Medford, Ashland, Shady Cove, Grants Pass and Cave Junction was listed as unhealthy for all groups, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's air quality index; the air in Provolt was listed as "very unhealthy."

The masks are available at:

Medford office

3629 Aviation Way

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

541-734-5520

Grants Pass office

1701 N.E. Seventh St.

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

541-471-4106

To help people estimate hazard levels visually, Jackson County Health and Human Services offers the following guidelines:

When visibility is under five miles, the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children, senior citizens, pregnant women and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illnesses. These people should minimize outdoor activity.

When visibility is under three miles, the air is unhealthy for everyone. The general public should minimize outdoor activity, and sensitive groups should avoid all outdoor activity.

When visibility is under one mile, the air is very unhealthy and may be hazardous. Everyone should avoid all outdoor activities.