Wildfires in Douglas and Josephine counties have made the air almost unbearable. The smoke has spread all over the region, including here in Medford. Face masks are flying off the shelf.
I plan on going to a couple of class reunions this week, and I hope I can survive that long.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber declared a state of emergency Tuesday for Josephine and Douglas counties as wildfires burned about 33 square miles north of Glendale.
Kitzhaber said the declaration allows the National Guard to aid in efforts to douse the Douglas complex. The collection of about 50 lightning-sparked blazes have been burning since Friday and were 5 percent contained Tuesday evening.
About 1,260 firefighters and other personnel have responded to the area, where 43 structures along Lower Cow Creek Road and 30 homes on Graves Creek Road have been evacuated. More than 40 other structures in the area have been issued pre-evacuation notices.
The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise has made the Northwest its top priority among 11 regions. That means that when crews and equipment become available, the Northwest gets first dibs.