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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)

Rogue Valley Air Peaks At Hazardous Level Wednesday Night

Oregon DEQ

Air quality readings reached the Hazardous level from wildfire smoke in both Ashland and Medford on Wednesday evening.  By Thursday morning, levels had dropped a bit, leaving both communities with air quality rated as Very Unhealthy. The smoke made a bad day for atmospheric conditions that much worse.  A heat advisory overlapped an air quality alert from the National Weather Service, which reported a daytime high of 98 degrees.  That was actually slightly better than the forecast high, just over 100.

Forecasters point out that thicker smoke diffuses sunlight and keeps temperatures from hitting their likely maximums under clear skies.  Better for the skin, worse for the lungs.  Health officials advise staying indoors in rooms with filtered air when smoke is at its worst.

The smell of wood smoke filled the air Wednesday evening, and car headlights appeared yellow through the gloom.  And the prospect for a change is limited; the heat advisory and air quality alert will continue through the day on Thursday.

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.