July 23, 2024

Hazardous air quality returns to Rogue Valley

Smoke reddens the sun over Ashland Plaza a little after 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22, when the Ashland AQI reading was about 242. photo by Bert Etling
August 25, 2023

Air quality alert in effect until 4 p.m. Sunday

Rogue Valley Times staff

Air quality plummeted in most of the Rogue Valley Thursday night, hours after readings were in the moderate range. It marks a one-week stretch when readings have been unhealthy to hazardous, brought on by regional wildfires.

Medford, Ashland, Phoenix and Talent all recorded hazardous readings at 8:15 p.m., according to the website. Very unhealthy air was reported in Jacksonville and Central Point. Unhealthy air was registered in Rogue River, White City and Grants Pass.

Poor air quality forced cancellation of its Green Show and “Twelfth Night,” according to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival website.

A smoke forecast video on the Medford NWS site shows air quality improving in the southern end of the Rogue Valley Friday morning. On its smoke forecast page for Northern California and Southern Oregon, the U.S. Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program forecast air quality will worsen again Friday evening.

Ashland Air Quality Index readings dating back to Aug. 15 show a peak reading of 476 at 10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17.

Cave Junction, which is closer to wildfires burning in Northern California and parts of southwest Oregon, had unhealthy air Thursday night. 

An air quality alert is in effect until 4 p.m. Sunday for much of southwest Oregon, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Smoke began to pour into the Rogue Valley last week Thursday night, Aug. 17, when conditions in some areas were deemed hazardous. There was a brief respite from the smoke Saturday, but skies were choked with particulates again Sunday.

This story first appeared in the Rogue Valley Times. editor Bert Etling contributed to this report.

Air quality readings at 8:15 p.m. Thursday.
Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Email him at

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