Air quality advisory issued for Medford and surrounding areas


Hazy skies are taking over the valley, and if you've stepped outside the past couple of days, it's been difficult to miss.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air advisory for smog due to the increasing ozone levels, fire smoke and the continued hot weather until next Tuesday, August 2nd. The level is currently at "moderate". DEQ spokesperson Katherine Benenati says, however, because of the lingering heat, those hazy views may last even longer.

"Something that you're seeing right now in these hot summer days is an increase in ozone which is basically smog," Benenati says. "On those days, pollution from cars and gas powered engines and other smog producing chemicals can create this unhealthy level."

The weather is critical to the air quality in the valley this week. A few determining factors, such such a wind direction, will determine those quality levels.

"It depends on which direction the smoke goes," Ryan Sandler, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Medford says. "Because we're nearly surrounded by fires, we're going to get some smoke from almost every direction. Near Prospect, there's a pretty big fire burning, and if that smoke comes right down into the valley through Shady Cove, and then Medford toward Ashland, that would probably give us the worst air quality conditions this week."

Even if you're not in an advisory area. Benenati says listen to your body and take precaution.

"I want to emphasise that these are guidelines. If someone goes outside and there's not a monitor near their house, and they see smoke that bother's them, then they should take precaution. The air quality index is a great tool, but if you don't feel comfortable outside take precaution."

For full details about the advisory plus ways you can help reduce smog in the region, visit the DEQ website.

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