Fire Season Reminders & Air Quality Information

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Fire Season Reminders & Air Quality Information

View of Roxy Ann
(Photo: KOBI - July 19, 2018)

Smoke from surrounding wildfires can be seen throughout the Medford area. Be sure to check the Air Quality Index, provided by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for air quality before heading out.  Click here to check the Air Quality Index map. 

The latest advisory from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Health Tips

Limit exposure and exertion when possible—when outdoor tasks are required, choose tasks of less exertion or for shorter periods, and take rest breaks indoors (or in air-conditioned vehicles with air on re-circulate) between periods of exertion, when possible.
 
Assure adequate water intake—with more particulates in the air, everyone needs generous amounts of water. This helps keep airways moist and assists efficient body functions, including how it processes pollutants.
 
Special Medical Considerations—if you have a history of respiratory, heart, or other affected medical conditions, consult your personal physician regarding safeguards for your health under current air quality conditions, then act accordingly. 
 

During a wildfire smoke event, Jackson County health officials advise residents to take the following precautions:

  • Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with the highest concentrations.
  • Stay indoors with doors and windows closed. This reduces exposure to particulate matter in the air.
    • Use air conditioning to keep your home cool if it becomes too warm.
    • Other sources of particles within the home should be reduced or eliminated: smoking, using gas, wood‐burning stoves or furnaces, aerosol sprays, frying or broiling meat, burning candles or incense, vacuuming.
    • High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters and Electro-static precipitator (ESP) filters can help provide protection.  These trap or remove harmful particles in the air.
  • When riding in a car, keep the windows and vents closed; turn the air conditioning on to recirculate.
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions.
  • People exposed to smoky conditions and who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers.
Click here for more details from Jackson County Health and Human Resources


 

Fire Restrictions

With multiple wildfires burning around southern Oregon the prevention of human-caused fire remains critical. Please exercise caution and follow all fire restrictions currently in place  (see below for a full list of restrictions). 

The following fire prevention regulations are provided by the Oregon Department of Forestry - The fire danger level is "extreme" (red). The following Fire Restrictions are in effect:

Restrictions on the public use of chainsaws, brush cutters and other power-driven or spark-emitting machinery will be the biggest change, with a mandatory shutdown time between 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
The following fire prevention restrictions are currently in effect until further notice:
  • No debris burning, including piles and debris, burned in burn barrels;
  • No fireworks on forestlands;
  • Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited.
  • Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations;
  • Open fires are prohibited which includes campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at locations deemed a designated campground. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are still allowed;
  • Chainsaws may not be used between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. During hours outside of this time frame, chainsaws may be used but require that the operator have one shovel and one 8-oz or larger fire extinguisher at the work site. A fire watch is also required for one hour after each chainsaw use;
  • Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is not allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. These activities will be allowed during hours outside of this time frame only if the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site;
  • The mowing of dead or dried grass with power-driven equipment is not allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. This restriction does not include mowing of green lawns, or equipment used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops;
  • Motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, will be allowed only on improved roads free of flammable vegetation. One shovel and one gallon of water, or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher, is required while traveling.
  • Any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine use not specifically mentioned is not allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. Use of any spark-emitting internal combustion engine is allowed outside of this time frame only if the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site;
  • Any electric fence controllers must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be installed and used in compliance with the fence controller’s instructions for fire safe operation.

Wildfires in Oregon

Oregon Smoke Information Blog
Get current local air quality information from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

InciWeb
State-by-state wildfire public information and other updates 

ODF Southwest
Latest updates from the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District

Wildfire and Smoke Information
Oregon Health Authority Wildfire and Smoke Information

Helpful Links

Air Quality Map
Frequently asked questions about wildfire smoke and public health 
Hazy, smoky air: Do you know what to do?

 

 

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