Heavy Smoke Stifles Southern Oregon

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, July 29 2013 at 6:36 PM, Updated: Wed, July 31 2013 at 2:18 PM

***Update: As of 7:40pm on Monday, the DEQ says air quality in  Cave Junction and Grants Pass is "Unsafe for Sensitive Groups." In Provolt conditions are "Hazardous." In Medford the air quality is "Very Unhealthy,".***

For Updated Air Quality Information CLICK HERE.

The fires burning in the region mean dangerous levels of smoke filtering straight into the Rogue Valley and other parts of Southern Oregon. Experts at the National Weather Service said if the fires keep burning, the air quality will continue to deteriorate.

Already, in parts of Southern Oregon, the air  is quickly going from bad to worse

"Yesterday the air quality was hazardous in the Cave Junction monitoring station from the DEQ," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Sandler.

"We had several hundred lightning strikes that set off about 60 fires across Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties. So we have three big wildfire complexes right now."

On Monday, the air quality was just as bad as it was over the weekend.

"We're expecting that as more smoke keeps accumulating over the next few days the air quality will worsen."

The air quality deterioration is happening fast. At 10:30 Monday morning air quality in Grants Pass was in the green, but just a few hours later, the air became hands down "Unhealthy" for all residents. It's not good since Sandler said he is expecting smoke to accumulate more in Grants Pass in particular.

"The winds are carrying the smoke into the Grants Pass area," said Sandler.

The smoke is being carried even further than that, moving right through the Rogue Valley and Southern Oregon, reaching Crescent City, California and even beyond.

"This plume goes all the way down to Mendocino county," said Sandler as he pointed at the smoke trajectory.

At this point, it'll stay smokey until some wind blows through or there's substantial rainfall...both of which aren't very likely.

Sandler also said during the day smoke can get lofted 6000-10,000 feet into the air.

However, at night, the smoke can settle closer to the ground...that means worse air quality in the evening.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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