Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Wildfire Smoke Impacting Local Air Quality

Posted By on Tue, Nov 13, 2018 at 10:47 AM

click to enlarge Smoke impacts in California. - AIRNOW
  • AIrNow
  • Smoke impacts in California.
Wildfire smoke from the Camp Fire burning in Butte County — which is now the deadliest in California history, taking at least 42 lives — is impacting air quality in Humboldt County today.

The haze that’s descended across the region is expected to stay for several days, according to a release from the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management district.

As of this morning, the Camp Fire has burned 125,000 acres and destroyed more than 6,500 homes with another 15,500 currently in harm's way of the blaze that stands at 30 percent containment.

“Firefighters actively fought the fire and worked aggressively. Firefighters provided structure protection and will continue to provide structure protection throughout daytime operations,” this morning’s incident update reads. “Firefighters will work to put direct and indirect fire lines in while scouting and putting in contingency lines ahead of the fire. Many risks and hazards along with steep terrain in some areas will impede firefighting efforts.”

For the most updated information, visit here.

Read the air quality district release below:
Depending on weather conditions, smoke impacts from the Camp Fire in Butte County may occur in areas of Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity County. This fire is currently at 117,000 acres with only about 30% containment. Humboldt & Del Norte County Due to southerly transport winds late Monday, coastal areas of Humboldt and Del Norte County primarily began seeing moderate smoke impacts from the Camp Fire.

Additionally, there have been several small fires locally (Green Hill Fire, etc.) but smoke impacts from these fires remains localized. Overall smoke impacts are forecast to be “Good” to “Moderate” with brief periods of ”Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” depending on weather and location. Overall today (Tuesday), afternoon smoke dispersion will be somewhat limited. As is typical for this time of year, overnight inversions will limit smoke dispersion until the day starts to warm up. Beginning tomorrow (Wednesday) transport winds will shift and come from the north and areas along the coast should see clearing as smoke will then be pushed south.

• Coastal Areas (Crescent City to Shelter Cove) - overall “Good” to “Moderate” with brief periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” • Southern Humboldt – “Good” to “Moderate” • Inland Humboldt and Del Norte County – “Good” to “Moderate”

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) monitors are presently in Crescent City, Gasquet, Eureka, and Weaverville. 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). Fire information can be found at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ or at www.calfire.ca.gov. Current weather information can be found at www.wrh.noaa.gov.

Air Quality Index (AQI Value) PM 2.5 24hr avg (ug/m3 ) Actions to Protect Yourself Good (0-50) 0-12 None Moderate (51-100) 12-35 Sensitive individuals should consider limiting prolonged or heavy exertion Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups [USG] (101-150) 35-55 People within USG should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion Unhealthy (151-200) 55-150 People within USG should avoid all prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion Very Unhealthy (201-300) 150-250 Everyone should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion Hazardous (>300) 250-500

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 24-hour Air Quality Advisory Information, call toll-free at 1-866-BURN-DAY (1-866-287-6329). For further information, visit the District’s website at www.ncuaqmd.org.
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About The Author

Kimberly Wear

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

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