News | Northwest Wildfires

Wildfire Smoke Forces Southwest Oregon Residents Indoors

OPB | Aug. 1, 2013 12:25 p.m. | Updated: Aug. 7, 2013 7:10 a.m. | Bend, Oregon

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Smoke from Southwest Oregon wildfires continues to plague communities from Grants Pass to Klamath Falls.

Smoke over the Rogue River.

Smoke over the Rogue River.

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Marlene Sadler says the streets of Medford are looking downright eerie these days.

“It’s pretty thick.  You see people walking around in masks.  It’s perfect for making the zombie movies,” Sadler said.

She’s a nurse with Jackson County Public Health Services.  She’s advising people to stay inside and keep the windows closed.  

She says if you absolutely have to be outside, you’ll need more than an ordinary dust mask.  Particulate respirators can protect your lungs from smoke.  But Sadler says because it takes more lung power to breathe through a respirator, that option isn’t for everybody.

“If you have heart disease or respiratory disease you should only use respirators under a doctor’s supervision because it can increase your breathing and your heart rates,” Sadler

Fire managers aren’t able to say when the fires might be fully contained.   That means many residents of Southwest Oregon might be spending much of what’s left of summer indoors.

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