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Frosty weather expected Thursday, Friday

The first hard frosts of autumn are expected Thursday and Friday, with late-night and early-morning temperatures as low as the upper 20s in parts of Jackson County.

Medford should see a morning low temperature of about 31 degrees Thursday, with some of the surrounding areas dropping into the upper 20s, according to the National Weather Service. That includes the Applegate and Illinois valleys, said meteorologist Mike Petrucelli. The Friday forecast is basically a repeat of Thursday.

Gardeners with sensitive crops should plan accordingly, either by covering the plants, harvesting or bringing them indoors.

Tuesday night into Wednesday morning was expected to be chilly, too, but not to the same degree — no pun intended.

“It’ll be cool, but it’s probably not going to be cold enough where it will be an issue,” Petrucelli said. “It’ll be similar to what we experienced the last couple of mornings around here.”

The cold dry air dropping down from the north is expected through the end of the week. Some showers could be in the mix by the weekend in Douglas County, but no rain is expected in Jackson County.

“Just looking at the way the system’s coming in, the trajectory of it, it’s really not going to be favorable,” Petrucelli said.

The chill in the air isn’t expected to have any immediate impact on fire danger levels on the 1.8 million acres of land in Jackson and Josephine counties protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry, agency officials said. The fire danger level dropped to “moderate” last week, and ODF expects it to stay there for the time being.

“We’re keeping an eye on the extended forecast, but fall in Southern Oregon can be all over the map,” said ODF spokeswoman Natalie Weber. “It will really depend on consistency to lower the fire danger level. We need temperatures to stay cool and additional rain in the forecast to feel good about decreasing to low, or ending fire season completely.”

On Tuesday, wildland crews made another small step toward full containment on the Slater fire, which is burning in southern Josephine County and Northern California. The 156,637-acre blaze is 82% contained, according to a news release. The 8,885-acre Devil fire burning in Northern California remained at 60% containment.

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com.