Local health officials said they support a new bill by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden that would allow Southern Oregonians to have their hotel stays covered when they flee wildfire smoke.

Wyden explained the details of his proposed Clean Air Refugee Assistance Act during a press conference Thursday at the Jackson County Health and Human Services building in Medford.

“What we’re seeing in Oregon and the West is what amounts to clean air refugees when we have these unhealthy days,” Wyden said.

His act would allow people to apply for relief through an existing Federal Emergency Management Agency program that covers temporary lodging for people who can’t immediately return home after a disaster. The program pays the hotel bills of people displaced by disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes — but not those concerned about the health impacts of breathing smoke.

Read the full story at the Medford Mail Tribune.