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2017's Wildfire Smoke Raises 2018's Awareness

Karen Richards


Last summer, wildfires brought unprecedented smoke to Eugene and other Oregon cities. High particulate levels caused cancellations of outdoor events, and people became fluent in air quality numbers.



Craig Pettinger is with the Oregon Department of Forestry in Sweet Home. He says last year's fire season might have helped awareness:


Pettinger: “I think the smoke in the air brought it more to the public light, and so the public is definitely paying a lot more attention. Which is a good thing.”


Pettinger says fire crews are careful to rotate out of the smoke so they don't get prolonged exposure. He cautions that May was very dry, and says if there isn't more precipitation soon, it could be an above average fire year. 

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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