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00000171-95d3-d2cb-a5f3-9fff6ded0000 Check here for information on fires in our region. You can also check out these resources:Northwest Interagency Coordination CenterSWOFIRE: Oregon Department of Forestry, SW regionCalFire: Current Fire InformationInciWeb: Incident Information SystemOregon Smoke Blog: Smoke informationSouth Central Oregon Fire Management Cooperative (Klamath/Lake Counties & Crater Lake)

The Smoke Problem: From Any Direction

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Geoffrey Riley/JPR News
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Ashland in the morning. The red light is an accurate reading of the air quality, too.

The wildfire smoke clouding the region's skies is expected to hang in for a while.  And hoping for the wind to change direction is a false hope... because so many fires are burning, the smoke can come from several directions.

Rogue Valley residents might have assumed the soupy skies of Friday morning came from the Hendrix Fire burning in the Siskiyous southwest of Ashland.  But the Oregon Department of Forestry says the smoke column that settled in early in the day came from the Grave #3 Fire, part of the Garner Complex burning northwest of Medford.

And it made a mess of the air.  Friday morning readings showed air quality in the Unhealthy level in Medford, Ashland, Happy Camp, and Yreka.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality declared an air quality alert "until further notice" but amended it later Friday to sunset at 11 AM Monday (July 23rd).  But that's only an estimate, and the end time could be extended if smoke is still hanging around.

The National Weather Service forecasts a 20% chance of thunderstorms returning on Sunday.  Most of the fires currently burning started from lightning strikes on Sunday, July 15th.

Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.