Community Smoke Response Plans

Prescribed burning and wildfire can send smoke into communities around Oregon, which may impact public health. So, the Department of Environmental Quality has been working with communities around Oregon to develop community smoke response plans.

Lauren and Dylan talk with people from Smokewise Ashland, a local collaborative working group ground in Southern Oregon, which has been operating a community smoke response plan for years.

Margaret Miller, DEQ’s air quality planner and forester, sets the scene for the episode. Ashland is one of five communities with a community smoke response plans in place, and four other communities in Oregon are working on plans.

“These plans develop really in-depth communication strategies so people can make informed health decisions,” Miller said.

The voices in the episode are:

  • Chris Chambers, Ashland Fire & Rescue wildfire division chief.
  • Sara Jones, City of Ashland community engagement coordinator.
  • Sandra Slattery, Ashland Chamber of Commerce executive director.
  • Lisa Smith, Options for Helping Residents of Ashland director of program services.
  • Natalie Mettler, Ashland Parks & Recreation senior and adult services coordinator
  • Sharon Spalding, community member.

This episode comes as part of Smoke Ready Week on the day dedicated to learning about smoke and your health. During Smoke Ready Week, DEQ and other public agencies and organizations around the Pacific Northwest share information on how smoke impacts health and what actions people may take to reduce their exposure to smoke.

Listen to the podcast on: SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.


  • Introduction
    • Part of Smoke Ready Week [1:05]
    • Where There’s Smoke podcast series on air quality and wildfire smoke [1:10]
  • Overview of community smoke response plans with Margaret Miller [3:00]
    • Plans in place and plans in the works [4:00]
  • Smokewise Ashland roundtable begins [7:15]
  • State of forest in Southern Oregon and why smoke is a pressing issue [7:55]
  • What kicked off Smokewise Ashland in 2016 [11:55]
  • What goes into a community smoke response plan [14:55]
  • Outreach tools and strategies [17:20]
  • Ashland Chamber of Commerce’s role [18:40]
  • Sharing smoke resources with homeless population [24:55]
  • How senior citizens are adapting to more smoke [27:15]
  • Wrap-up [32:50]

Links for resources in Ashland.

Published by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ’s mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon’s air, land and water.

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