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How has wildfire smoke impacted you?

Jackson County would like to know
Smoke from wildfires and controlled burns are a fact of life in the Rogue Valley. [Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune]

Jackson County and the city of Medford are asking residents to fill out a 15-minute survey to help the county devise a plan to deal with wildfire smoke that fills the valley every year.

Vulnerable populations, including older people, pregnant women or those with underlying health conditions, such as asthma and emphysema, likely have gotten used to dodging smoke, but Jackson County Emergency Manager Holly Powers wants everyone in the valley to recognize the latent danger.

“Smoke affects everyone who breathes,” she said.

The survey questions are directed toward reactive and proactive responses. Would you go to a smoke shelter? Would you accept free air filters if they were available? How about free smoke-filtering face masks or an opt-in alert system for unsafe air conditions and planned prescribed burns?

Medford and Jackson County worked together to obtain a Community Development Response Grant from the Department of Environmental Quality. The grant is intended to support the creation of a tailor-made community response plan for the Rogue Valley’s unique population, and the survey is the first step, Powers said. It will give officials the data they need to better understand what residents need from them.

The survey will be open until Oct. 15, Powers said. It can be found at tinyurl.com/mrxra726.

According to the website, a lucky few will receive gift cards for their participation.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Morgan Rothborne at mrothborne@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4487. Follow her on Twitter @MRothborne.