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Medford, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and health officials in Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties are urging residents to take precautions from wildfire smoke.

At 1 p.m. DEQ air quality monitors in Roseburg showed unhealthy air quality readings over the past 24 hours but conditions were trending toward more moderate levels. An unhealthy reading on the Air Quality Index means people with heart or lung disease, children and older adults should avoid all outdoor activity and that everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.

DEQ's air quality monitor in Shady Cove showed air quality that was unhealthy for sensitive groups, including young children, the elderly and those with asthma.

Smoke from several nearby wildfires may also cause poor air quality in and around Medford and Grants Pass, though monitors have shown mostly moderate conditions there.

While residents can view current air quality conditions at http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/ , Oregon's monitoring network does not capture air quality conditions in all communities. For this reason, it's important for residents to gauge air quality conditions where they live and take appropriate actions to protect themselves.

People can take the following precautions:

- Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with highest concentrations.

- Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions.

- If you have heart disease, asthma or other respiratory ailments, or are over 65, you have a higher risk of illness from wildfire smoke.

- Small children and pregnant women are also at increased risk. People in any of these groups might consider leaving the area until air quality improves.

- People suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers.

Remember, local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly, depending on weather factors including wind direction.

Visit the Oregon Smoke Blog for more information: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

Greg Svelund, Public Affairs Specialist, Bend, 541-647-4194, svelund.greg@deq.state.or.us

Teresa Mutschler, Douglas Public Health Network, 541-440-3571

Dr. David Candelaria, Josephine County Public Health, Health Officer, 541-474-5325

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