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Weathering the smoke

Aided by favorable conditions, fire crews are making significant progress against the stubborn Milepost 97 fire. That’s good news. It’s also good news that contingency plans put in place after last year’s fire season have allowed theater and musical performances to go on without interruption, moving to inside venues when necessary.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival moved outdoor shows from the Allen Elizabethan Theatre to Ashland High School’s Mountain Avenue Theatre, and the festival’s popular Green Shows are being live-streamed rather than performed outdoors while the smoke lingers.

The Britt Classical Festival moved Sunday and Tuesday concerts indoors, but was planning to hold its Friday evening performance on the hill at the Britt Pavilion, thanks to improved air quality.

Southern Oregon University has generously opened its facilities to members of the public seeking shelter from the smoke, including the running track in the Student Recreation Center, the Hannon Library and the Stevenson Union.

Meanwhile, the smoke was less bothersome here Thursday than earlier in the week, with the air quality listed as moderate. With any luck, the region may have made it through this fire with minimal inconvenience.

A heads up to all: The Milepost 97 fire was human-caused. The cause of the Panther Gulch fire, approaching full containment and holding at 70 acres as of Thursday morning thanks to state and local fire crews, was still under investigation. We wouldn’t bet against a human cause for that one, either.

Please be careful out there, and don’t do anything stupid.