Southern Oregon air quality worsens as wildfires grow

July 24, 2018

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The air quality in southern Oregon was the worst in the nation Monday, according to officials.

Connie Clarstrom, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Medford, said not to expect the conditions to get better anytime soon. She said southern Oregon will likely face triple digit temperatures and unhealthy to hazardous air all week.

“As long as we’re surrounded by wildfires, it’s tough to see it getting better,” Clarstrom said.

Nine major wildfires are sending thick smoke into the region, bringing hazardous air quality to cities including Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass, the Statesman Journal reported .

Officials recommended wearing a mask outdoors and said sensitive populations, such as small children and pregnant women, might consider leaving town.

Most of the major fires have continued to grow, despite more than 5,000 fire personnel and a small air force of tankers and helicopters working the blazes, according to the Statesman Journal.

“As soon as we get one fire knocked down and out cold, another one comes to life and jumps containment lines,” said Ashley Lertora, spokeswoman on the Garner Complex, which includes the fires in Taylor Creek and Grave Creek. “We’re facing near-critical fire weather conditions the next few days, and our teams are really battling to stay on top of them.”


Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com

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