Smoke returns, but for how long?

    From left, Nickolas Tassopouls, Ray Barb, Hannah Berg and Patrick Pulpan wear protective masks Tuesday as they walk along Siskiyou Boulevard in Ashland. File photo. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch

    A shift in the wind and an abrupt spike in temperatures this week are bringing smoke back to Medford skies.

    Harkening back to the height of summer, Table Rocks disappeared from view in downtown Medford Thursday; Roxy Ann Peak, too, was hidden behind a veil of brown haze.

    “I’m included in all this,” said Marc Spilsby, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Medford. “Everybody’s getting sick of it.”

    Spilsby said a combination of wind and high temperatures is responsible for the smoke, which is expected to linger until Saturday. The Klondike, Natchez, South Umpqua and Delta fires are all seeing increased activity with the hotter weather. In addition, wind that had been blowing the particulate matter west to the coast shifted direction and blew it back east.

    Conditions are expected to be worst tonight. Air quality, according to the Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Index, was at “moderate” levels at 5 p.m. Thursday.

    Cooler temperatures will return by the end of the weekend, Spilsby said, and there’s a chance of rain Saturday night — though the rain comes with a chance of thunderstorms.

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