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Air quality reaches ‘very unhealthy’ in Medford

The Rough Patch Complex burns in the Southern Oregon Cascades Saturday. Oregon Department of Forestry photo.

On the same day that Medford recorded its worst air quality reading for the month of August, state officials warned that unhealthy levels of smoke could persist for at least the rest of the week.

Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Curry and Lake counties are all expected to have unhealthy levels of smoke at least until Friday, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Medford recorded its first “very unhealthy” air quality reading of the season at 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to DEQ. The air quality index reading at the test center in the area of Welch and Jackson streets was 205, which is considered “very unhealthy.”

The air quality dropped to 195 by 3 p.m., and more typically ranged between the 150s and 170s Tuesday.

DEQ and state health officials advise that individuals stay inside if possible when smoke levels are high, keep windows and doors closed and avoid strenuous outdoor activities.