Poor air quality alert due to smoke from Rum Creek Fire extended indefinitely
By Bert Etling
Gusty winds will create severe fire danger conditions Friday in most of Jackson and Josephine counties, the National Weather Service said Thursday in announcing a red flag warning effective from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2, including the Rum Creek Fire area northwest of Grants Pass.
West to northwest winds of 10 to 15 mph with gusts of 20 to 25 mph are expected, with humidity at a low 9 to 15%.
Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly, the warning says, adding that outdoor burning is not recommended.
An air quality advisory that had been due to expire at 5 p.m. Thursday was extended indefinitely, the NWS announced mid-day Thursday as the Rum Creek Fire continues to burn, sending smoke throughout the region. Ashland air quality readings hovered around the 160 mark most of the day Thursday, the third day in a row levels were well into the unhealthy range.
The lightning-caused fire started around noon Wednesday, Aug. 17, outside of Galice.
It had spread to 16,583 acres as of Thursday evening, authorities said, up from 13,000 Tuesday evening.
“We’re making progress,” John Spencer, fire operations chief, said Thursday. “The next couple of days will be a test on all the work we’ve done, due to upcoming red flag weather for Friday’s shift.”
Nearly 2,000 firefighters are working to control the fire, which has burned one home and two other structures.
A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring or will shortly, the NWS says. These conditions promote rapid spread of fire which may become life threatening.
Ashland Fire & Rescue is staffing up its firefighting capacity along with Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest to respond to any fires in our area.
Email Ashland.news Executive Editor Bert Etling at email@example.com or call or text him at 541-631-1313.