Smoke from Central Ore. fires may be on the way

Smoke from a wildfire complex burning more than 100,000 acres near Warm Springs in Central Oregon may drift into the Rogue Valley this weekend.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is warning residents to take precautions should smoke reach health-threatening levels.

The National Weather Service is calling for hot eastern and southern winds through the weekend that could blow smoke across the Cascade Range into Western Oregon, reaching as far south as Medford.

A dozen wildfires are burning in Eastern and Central Oregon, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry. The largest is the High Cascades complex, which has torched about 101,000 acres of rangeland near Warm Springs. It is about 40 percent contained, officials said.

Three small fires that total no more than 30 acres are burning in Crater Lake National Park but are being managed for long-term ecological benefits, said fire management officer Greg Funderburk. Those fires, whose smoke is not expected to reach the Rogue Valley, will be allowed to burn until the snow flies, he noted.

However, fire-suppression personnel will keep an eye on the fires, he said.

The fires have caused the temporary closure of the Pacific Crest Trail between the Lightning Springs Trail and the North Entrance Road. The Bald Crater Loop Trail also is closed.

Hikers on the PCT are advised to use the Rim Trail as an alternate route, Funderburk said.

The fires are among 17 in the park ignited by lightning between Aug. 20 and 28, he said. The other 14 have been snuffed out.

With the possibility of smoke and high temperatures, the DEQ is advising local resident to take the following precautions:

  • Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with the highest concentrations.
  • Avoid smoke by leaving the area or protect yourself by staying indoors, closing all windows and doors and using a filter in your heating/cooling system that removes very fine particulate matter.
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity.

Anyone suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their asthma or breathing-management plans or contact their health care providers, the DEQ advises.

To check out air-quality levels, go to

Paul Fattig is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at 541-776-4496 or email him at

Share This Story