SELMA, Ore. – Thick smoke continues to tighten its choke hold across Southern Oregon, impacting air quality and forcing people to take steps to protect their health.
The smoke from six wildfires across southwest Oregon have been swept across our region and into Northern California. Air quality levels have been constantly changing, but reporting stations in Grants Pass and Cave Junction have both seen levels of “very unhealthy” and “hazardous.” That means everyone could begin to feel negative health effects, and sensitive groups like children, the elderly, and people with breathing problems are more at risk.
In Selma, 12 miles southeast from where the Labrador Fire is burning, people said the smoke has forced them indoors.
“It’s hard,” said David May, who has asthma. “I try to stay inside as much as possible, try not to come out in it other than to go get mail.”
“It kind of chokes you up,” said 87-year-old Evelyn Innis. “If it gets bad, I go in the house.”
Emergency managers are warning people to limit outdoor activities.
Some people have also been buying particulate and dust masks to try to avoid breathing in ash and other materials in the air. Farmer’s Building Supply in Grants Pass said as the smoke has rolled in this week, the protective masks have been flying off their shelves.
“We had six boxes yesterday, we’re down to one box now,” said manager Ray Schrock.
Click here to see the latest air quality information from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.