Smoky conditions across the Rogue Valley due to the Rum Creek Fire

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. – A wildfire burning in Josephine County continues to grow, spreading smoke over southwest Oregon.

The Rum Creek Fire was started by lightning on August 17. Since then, it’s grown to 11,696 acres.

One home and two other structures have been destroyed by the fire as numerous evacuation notices remain in effect in the area.

For the latest evacuation maps, visit https://bit.ly/3RjE6G3

As of Tuesday morning, air quality in Grants Pass is classified as “hazardous” by the Department of Environmental Quality due to the fire. The rest of the Rogue Valley is under “unhealthy” air quality.

For the latest smoke information in Oregon, visit https://www.oregonsmoke.org/

The DEQ gave the following advice to protect yourself when smoke levels are high:

  • Stay inside if possible. Keep windows and doors closed. If it’s too hot, run air conditioning on recirculate or consider moving to a cooler location.
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity.
  • Use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in indoor ventilation systems or portable air purifiers. Or create your own air purifying filter by following these instructions.
  • Be aware of smoke in your area and avoid places with the highest levels.
  • When air quality improves to moderate or healthy (yellow or green on the Air Quality Index), open windows and doors to air out homes and businesses.
  • If you have a breathing plan for a medical condition, be sure to follow it and keep any needed medications refilled.

Oregon Health Authority and Jackson County Public Health officials are advising schools to follow Oregon Schools Activity Association guidance for students when there is smoke in the air.

The Medford Fire Department said, “With smoke settling into our area, it’s a good idea to start checking the Air Quality Index (AQI) Air Now and think about taking precautions if you plan on being outside or limit your time and/or level of exertion when outdoors, especially if you have heart or lung disease.”

Updates about the Rum Creek Fire can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8348/

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