Heavy smoke expected to linger
Increased burnout activity at Southern Oregon wildfires and continued winds will lead to another round of poor air quality for the Medford area this week.
An air quality advisory will remain in effect through at least Wednesday for Jackson County along with portions of Klamath, Deschutes and Lake counties due to heavy smoke impacts stemming from wildfires in the Oregon Cascades and Northern California, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
Medford’s Air Quality Index returned to the 150s Monday afternoon — considered “unhealthy — after about 12 hours in the ”moderate“ range before dawn into the late morning hours, the DEQ’s test site at the corner of Welch and west Jackson streets showed.
Winds blowing from the northwest will carry the smoke to the southeast will degrade Medford’s air quality, according to the Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program forecast for the South Oregon Cascades region, but the winds will help Grants Pass see air quality ranging between “moderate” and “unhealthy for sensitive groups” through Tuesday.
A little further north in Roseburg, air quality is expected to be “good” because of the winds, according to the outlook and a smoke forecast from the National Weather Service in Medford.
Shady Cove will get the bulk of smoke from from the Devil’s Knob Complex, and is forecast to see “unhealthy” air Monday and “very unhealthy” air Tuesday.
As of Monday morning, the Devil’s Knob Complex burning in the Umpqua National Forest is 35,482 acres and 25% contained, according to Inciweb updates. More than 749 personnel are working the complex of fires burning in the Tiller Ranger District, with much of the firefighting efforts concentrated along the north and east sides of the Smith fire.
The Jack fire burning near Glide is contained at its north, west and northeast ends, but crews are prepping for additional burning operations as of Monday to strengthen lines.
The Rough Patch complex burning about 10 miles north of the Jack fire was at 32,709 acres and 11% contained Monday. Crews saw increased fire activity Sunday at the Chaos fire and the Little Bend fires within the complex, but cooler weather in the 70s is in the Douglas County fire’s weather forecast, according to the fire’s Monday morning InciWeb update.
With the cooler weather in the forecast comes more shifting wind patterns, however.
“Expect dense smoke in the lower elevations until the afternoon when winds shift to the north,” the Monday update for the Rough Patch complex states.