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Fires Near Ashland and In Northern California Bring Poor Air Quality To Southern Oregon

The Grizzly Creek Fire outside of Ashland, Sept. 4, 2020.
Oregon Department of Forestry
The Grizzly Creek Fire outside of Ashland, Sept. 4, 2020.

Wildfires in California and outside Ashland are causing elevated levels of unhealthy air in southwest Oregon.

On Friday the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality advisory for Jackson and Josephine Counties through Saturday night due to smoke coming from California. The 300+-acre Grizzly Creek Fire near Howard Prairie Lake has added to smoke in the air since Friday afternoon.

As of Saturday afternoon, the DEQ air quality index lists moderate air quality in Ashland and Talent. Medford air quality remains good. The DEQ’s Friday air quality advisory for Jackson and Josephine Counties forecast unhealthy air for sensitive groups, including children under 18, adults over 65, pregnant women, outdoor workers, homeless individuals and those who have had COVID-19 and who are recovering from the virus.

Klamath Falls and Lake County are experiencing unhealthy air quality as of Saturday. Advisories were also issued for those counties by DEQ on Friday due to wildfire smoke traveling from California.

As of Saturday afternoon, the Grizzly Creek Fire near Ashland was 99% lined and seven percent contained, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest region. A red flag warning – the highest level of alert – remains in effect for Northern California and Southern Oregon according to the National Weather Service.

Erik Neumann is JPR's news director. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.