Air quality from Medford to Cave Junction improved to healthy levels this morning because of the drop in smoky air and fine particles that come with it.
Data from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality shows reporting stations in Cave Junction, Provolt Seed Orchard, Grants Pass and Medford all reported "good" air quality this morning, despite the lightning-sparked Big Windy Complex burning nearby.
"This is the first day (that's happened) since the fires started," said Byron Peterson, DEQ natural resources specialist.
Shady Cove was listed as having "moderate" air quality, which means individuals with sensitive respiratory conditions like asthma could be affected by the smoke levels.
Recent rainfall has helped to temper the smoke and slow the Big Windy Complex's growth. Fire officials said smoke will likely return as temperatures warm back up through the day, drying out ground fuels that can feed the flames. The National Weather Service is calling for sunny skies and high temperatures ranging from the high 80s to low 90s in the Grants Pass area the rest of the week, with no reported precipitation.
The Big Windy has burned 15,447 acres as of today, with 15 percent containment, fire officials reported.
Crews at two other regional fire complexes continue their slow crawl toward full containment, too. The Douglas Complex, burning near Glendale, is at 50 percent containment this morning, with 45,483 acres burned. Crews at the Whiskey Complex near Tiller have contained 40 percent of the blaze, which has burned 11,260 acres.
— Ryan Pfeil