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News Release: DEQ extends air quality advisory for Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties

Medford, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has extended an air quality advisory for Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties, which are being impacted by smoke from a number of wildfires.

Air quality had improved somewhat late in the week in Klamath Falls and the Rogue Valley where conditions were very unhealthy and even hazardous at some monitors earlier in the week. An air quality advisory was in place for the same counties from Monday to Thursday.

With hot weather, light winds and a number of wildfires burning, air quality is expected to worsen at least through the weekend. As of 11 a.m. on Friday, air quality was very unhealthy in Shady Cove and unhealthy in Medford and Cave Junction.
A very unhealthy or purple reading means that everyone may experience more serious health effects. An unhealthy or red reading on the Air Quality Index means that everyone may begin to experience health effects and everyone should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.
Residents can view current air quality conditions at DEQ’s Air Quality Index The index is also available on smart phones. Simply search for OregonAir in your app store.
The color-coded index ranks air quality as follows: Green is good. Yellow is moderate (unhealthy for extremely sensitive groups). Orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with respiratory conditions. Red is unhealthy for everyone. Purple is very unhealthy for all groups. Maroon (greater than 300) is hazardous.
Remember, local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly, depending on weather factors including wind direction.
Oregon's monitoring network does not capture air quality conditions in all communities. For this reason, it is important for residents to gauge air quality conditions where they live and take appropriate actions to protect themselves.

DEQ and county health officials are urging residents to take precautions from wildfire smoke. People can take the following precautions:

- Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with highest concentrations.

- Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions.

- If you have heart disease, asthma or other respiratory ailments, or are over 65, you have a higher risk of illness from wildfire smoke.

- Small children and pregnant women are also at increased risk. People in any of these groups might consider leaving the area until air quality improves.

- People suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers.

Visit the Oregon Smoke Blog for more information:   

DEQ: Katherine Benenati, Public Affairs Specialist, Eugene, 541-600-6119, 

Jackson County: Tanya Phillips, Jackson County Public Health, 541-770-7708,

Klamath County: Ramona Quinn, Valeree Lane,  541.882.8846

Josephine County: Michael Weber, Public Health Director, (541) 474-5339,