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Shifting winds bring a break from smoky skies

Shifting winds in Southern Oregon means a reprieve from wildfire smoke in the Rogue Valley through Thursday, National Weather Service officials said.

The agency said an upper level trough pushed into the area overnight, bringing winds from the northwest that pushed wildfire smoke from the nearby Happy Camp Fire Complex to the southeast.

"The smoke ... is now blowing into the Mt. Shasta and Weed area," meteorologist Connie Clarstrom said.

Those winds could see a slight shift tonight, blowing from the east and northeast and pushing the smoke southwest back into the Happy Camp area.

"It might event start pushing into the Brookings and Crescent City area," Clarstrom said, adding the Illinois Valley might also see a hint of the murk.

The smoke is expected to start meandering back into the Rogue Valley Thursday evening into Friday, officials said.

"We should be good for the next couple days," Clarstrom said. "Enjoy that blue sky."

As of this morning, the Happy Camp Complex responsible for the smoke had climbed to 99,200 acres. It is estimated at 30 percent containment, according to the Incident Information System website. To date, the blaze has racked up an estimated price tag of $60.7 million. There are 75 crews, 13 helicopters, 108 engines, 20 dozers, and 50 water tenders fighting the fire.

A cold front that moved into Southern Oregon last night also will drop today's high temperature by about 10 degrees, with an 83-degree high anticipated for Medford and Ashland. Temperatures should climb back up to the mid- to high-90 mark by Wednesday.

— Ryan Pfeil