ASHLAND, Ore. -- The fires burning in southern Oregon and northern California means heavy smoke ends up lingering in the Rogue Valley. More and more people are staying away from the area because of the unhealthy air.
This is an especially big problem for cities like Ashland that rely on tourism. Business owners are sounding the alarm about slumping sales. They say this is normally their busy season but the smoke is keeping people and their dollars away.
Thomas Bean is the owner of Thomas Lee Gallery on 1st Street. "Being a small business owner, it's very hard," he explains. "I've been here for 10 years now and I would have to say this is the worst year I've had."
Business owners say they are trying to do their best to make sure customers who patronize their stores and galleries get a break from the smoke. Still, they admit it's all about that foot traffic and as long as the fires burn, i's going to be hard to get people in their doors.