Are fire and smoke affecting the rafting business?

Shady Cove, Ore.-  Wildfires and hazy skies are impacting summer activities across the Rogue Valley. However, those fires in the Rogue Valley don’t seem to be stopping rafters this summer.

After the Flounce Fire started late Monday evening, the sky was incredibly smokey Shady Cove.

Currently the Flounce Fire is 690 acres. But even with its large size and close proximity to other fires burning close by, rafters are still heading out to the Rogue River.

The line was over 60 people long today at Raft The Rogue. That’s thanks in large part to the Pedraza family and friends annual rafting trip. They drove down all the way from Woodburn to go rafting today, all 61 of them ranging from toddlers to parents. The Pedraza family and their group of 61 friends have been coming to Raft The Rogue for seven years. They say it’s some of the most fun they’ve had as a group. And the fun they have there is the reason they keep making the five hour drive every summer.

“We keep coming to see the kids playing and (the) water and then it’s fun, it’s really fun,” Sara Bogrin says.

It’s big groups of rafters like theirs that keep business booming at places like Raft The Rogue even during fire season.

Julie Young manages Raft The Rogue. Young and her family all work there. They told NBC5 News that things were tough when the Flounce Fire initially started on Monday night because of the smoke and thunderstorms, and they said that business did briefly slow down.

“It’s affected (us) during the week cause we’ve had a lot of hazy smoke in the valley.”

But things quickly picked back up, just in time for the weekend. And the Young’s think the air quality and efforts to put out the Flounce Fire are most definitely improving.

As those efforts to put of the Flounce Fire and other nearby fires continue, Raft The Rogue anticipates that today they’ll be breaking their record for most customers in one day. And that will be the second time they’ve broken that record this summer!

NBC5 News Reporter Emily Biehl graduated from Chapman University with a Bachelor’s degree in Television and Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Leadership Studies.

Emily interned at KNBC in Los Angeles and was a reporter and Executive Producer for Chapman News, Orange County’s only live newscast. She also recently produced a documentary about homelessness.

Emily loves baking, spending time with family and friends and telling people what animals they resemble!

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