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California fires prompt unhealthy air advisory in southern Oregon

Smoke rises from the McKinney Fire on August 8, 2022.
Courtesy of Inciweb
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Smoke rises from the McKinney Fire on August 8, 2022.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality warns southern Oregon communities of poor air quality caused by fires in Northern California.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality advisory for Monday and Tuesday in southern Josephine County, including Cave Junction. The warning comes as the McKinney Fire continues to burn near the Oregon and California border. On Monday morning, the fire was reported to be over 60,000 acres and 40% contained.

Other parts of Oregon may be affected by wildfire smoke this week too, including Oakridge in Lane County, as fires burn in the Central Cascades. Officials with the department said smoke can irritate the eyes and lungs and worsen some medical conditions. Infants and young children, people with heart or lung disease, older adults and pregnant people are most at risk for negative effects.

The state Department of Environmental Quality asks people to stay inside if possible and keep windows and doors closed. Using high-efficiency particulate air filters in indoor ventilation systems or portable air purifiers can help air quality inside homes. While Oregon has had a comparatively light wildfire season so far this year compared to 2020 and 2021, smoke levels can change rapidly based on the weather. The state provides resources to help people remain up to date on smoke conditions through the Oregon Smoke Information Blog, DEQ’s Air Quality Index, or by downloading the free OregonAIR app.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Alex Hasenstab