Thursday, August 2, 2018

Wildfire Smoke Likely to Impact Air Quality

Posted By on Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 12:28 PM

click to enlarge A plane helps battle the Eel Fire. - COURTESY OF MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST
  • Courtesy of Mendocino National Forest
  • A plane helps battle the Eel Fire.
Parts of the North Coast, including Orleans and the Hoopa, Van Duzen and Mad River areas, may experience periods of unhealthy air quality conditions today and this evening due to wildfires.

According to the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District, winds coming from the northwest will help disperse the smoke from the Carr Fire near Redding but impacts from Oregon fires will hit northern portions of Humboldt County.

For the latest information on California wildfires, including evacuations and road closures, visit the CalFire incident website:

Release from the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District:
Ongoing fires remain active throughout Oregon and Northern California. The fires with the potential to impact our area (depending on conditions) are Southern Oregon (Klondike, Garner and Natchez Fire), Shasta into Eastern Trinity County (Carr Fire), Lake and Mendocino County (Mendocino Complex). Forecasted West to Northwest winds will improve smoke dispersion but increase fire activity.
Smoke from the Oregon fires will continue to drift South to Southeast into the northern interior portions of Del Norte, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties. Smoke will remain above the marine layer along the coast and will continue to pool in river drainages inland. Recent smoke impacts from the Carr Fire in Trinity County are expected to improve with the arrival of Northerly winds. Smoke in this area should push to the East and Southeast with some settling in drainages during the evening. The Mendocino Complex remains active and no smoke impacts are expected unless conditions change.
• Coastal areas are forecast to have “Good” with periods of “Moderate” air quality.
• Klamath is expected to have “Good” air quality.
• Gasquet is forecast to have “Good” to “Moderate” air quality with possible periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” in the evening.
• Orleans is forecast to have “Moderate” air quality with periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” to “Unhealthy” may occur in the evening along the drainage.
• Hoopa, Van Duzen and Mad River areas can expect to have “Good” to “Moderate” conditions with possible periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” in the evening.
• Weaverville area is forecast to have “Good” to “Moderate” conditions with periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”.
Particulate Matter (PM2.5) monitors are presently in Gasquet, Klamath, Smith River, Weitchpec, Orleans, Hoopa, Weaverville, and Eureka.
Updates will be provided as conditions change. For 24-hour Air Quality Advisory Information, call toll-free at 1-866- BURN-DAY (1-866-287-6329). Air Quality Index (AQI) Actions to Protect Yourself Good None Moderate Sensitive individuals should consider limiting prolonged or heavy exertion Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (USG) People within USG should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion Unhealthy People within USG should avoid all prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion Very Unhealthy Everyone should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion Hazardous Everyone should avoid any outdoor activity.
Current weather information can be found at
Health Information for Smoke Impacts Concentrations of smoke may vary depending upon location, weather, and distance from the fire. Smoke from wildfires and structure fires contain harmful chemicals that can affect your health. Smoke can cause eye and throat irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing. People who are at greatest risk of experiencing symptoms due to smoke include: those with respiratory disease (such as asthma), those with heart disease, young children, and older adults. These sensitive populations should stay indoors and avoid prolonged activity. All others should limit prolonged or heavy activity and time spent outdoors. Even healthy adults can be affected by smoke.
Seek medical help if you have symptoms that worsen or become severe. If you can see, taste, or feel smoke, contact your local health department and/or primary healthcare provider. This is especially important if you have health concerns, are elderly, are pregnant, or have a child in your care.
Follow these general precautions to protect your health during a smoke event:
• Minimize or stop outdoor activities, especially exercise
• Stay indoors with windows and doors closed as much as possible • Do not run fans that bring smoky outdoor air inside – examples include swamp coolers, whole-house fans, and fresh air ventilation systems
• Run your air-conditioner only if it does not bring smoke in from the outdoors. Change the standard air conditioner filter to a medium or high efficiency filter. If available, use the “re-circulate” or “recycle” setting on the unit
• Do not smoke, fry food, or do other things that will create indoor air pollution If you have lung disease (including asthma) or heart disease, closely monitor your health and contact your doctor if you have symptoms that worsen. Consider leaving the area until smoke conditions improve if you have repeated coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea, unusual fatigue, lightheadedness.
For further information, visit the District’s website at

At a Glance: Aug. 2 (morning) Fire Summaries from CalFire and Mendocino National Forest

Carr Fire
County: Shasta and Trinity
Location: State Highway 299 and Carr Powerhouse Road, Whiskeytown
Acres burned: 125,842
Containment: 35 percent
Residential Structures destroyed: 1,060
Commercial Structures destroyed: 18
Structures threatened: 1,658
Start date: July 23

River Fire:
County: Mendocino and Lake
Location: Old River Rd, near Mile Marker Post 7.9, Hopland
Acres burned: 35,278
Containment: 50 percent
Residential structures destroyed: 14
Other structures destroyed: 24
Structures threatened: 12,200
Start date: July 27

Ranch Fire:
County: Mendocino
Location: Off Highway 20 near Potter Valley, northeast of Ukiah
Acres burned: 74,890
Containment: 33 percent
Residential structures destroyed: 14
Other structures destroyed: 24
Structures threatened: 12,200
Start date: July 27

Eel Fire:
County: Mendocino
Location: 10 miles east of Covelo
Acres burned: 1,000
Containment: 5 percent
Residential structures destroyed: Unavailable
Commercial Structures destroyed: Unavailable
Structures threatened: 10
Start date: July 31
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Kimberly Wear

Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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