Monday, August 24, 2020

Red Salmon Fire Smoke to Impact Some Areas

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2020 at 12:04 PM

Orleans, Hoopa, Weitchpec and areas along river drainages may experience periods of air quality in the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” zone due to smoke from the Red Salmon Complex, according to the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District.

The complex stands at 19,365 acres and 41 percent containment, according to this morning’s update, and the region is under a red flag warning until 11 p.m., with thunderstorms and dry lightning possible.

Coastal areas are expected to be in the Good” to “Moderate” range.
click to enlarge red_salmon_aug24.jpg
Read the air district's full release below:


California is experiencing multiple wildfires associated with previous lightning storms. Red Flag warnings have been issued for isolated and scattered thunderstorms in Humboldt, Del Norte, and Trinity County, and are expected to remain in place through Tuesday.

The Red Salmon Complex in Trinity County’s wilderness area is now at 19,365 acres with 41% containment. Most of the fire activity is from burn out operations on the South and East side of the fire. Fire activity has moderated due to weather conditions and has also lessened smoke production.

Depending on smoke production and overnight pooling in inversions is likely to overpower the afternoon clearing in smoke impacted areas. Smoke from the Red Salmon Complex fire has been minimal in Trinity County and is not expected to be a factor over the next few days.

An Air Resource Advisor (ARA) on the fire is providing daily smoke outlook forecasts, which include expected fire behavior and possible planned strategic firing operations in the air quality projections. Smoke from the large wildfires to the southwest is primarily affecting areas in Trinity County.

An Air Quality Advisory has been issued for Weaverville and surrounding communities, and is effective until August 26, 2020. Updates will be provided as conditions change.

• Humboldt County - Coastal areas are expected to remain “Good” to “Moderate” depending on conditions. Orleans, Hoopa, Weitchpec, and areas along the river drainages may experience periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” as smoke mixes down to the surface in the late morning and early afternoon with conditions improving overnight.

• Trinity County – An Advisory for “Unhealthy” conditions has been issued for Weaverville and the surrounding communities. This Advisory remains in place until August 26, 2020. Continued smoke impacts are expected through the week.

• Del Norte County – Coastal areas are expected to remain “Good’ to “Moderate” depending on conditions. The interior of Del Norte County is forecast to see “Moderate” with periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” depending on conditions and proximity to the fire.

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) monitors are located in Crescent City, Eureka, Weaverville, Hoopa, Weitchpec, Willow Creek, Klamath, and Trinity Center.

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 https://fire.airnow.gov/. Current weather information can be found at www.wrh.noaa.gov.

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.

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.

Updated guidance from the CDC is available on reducing wildfire smoke exposure given COVID-19 considerations: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/covid19/reduce_exposure_to_wildfire_smoke_covid-19.html 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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Kimberly Wear

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

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