Sunday, September 13, 2020

Unhealthy to Hazardous Air Quality Today

Posted By on Sun, Sep 13, 2020 at 10:25 AM

An air quality advisory has been issued today for coastal areas from Rio Dell to Trinidad as well as the Hoopa, Willow Creek, Garberville, and Redway areas while an air quality alert was issued for Orleans and Weitchpec due to smoky conditions.

Orleans and Weitchpec are expected to experience mostly hazardous conditions while coastal areas will be in the mostly unhealthy zone, according to the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District.

Interior areas, including Hoopa, Willow Creek, Garberville and Redway, are forecasts to be in unhealthy to very unhealthy conditions.

“Slightly stronger southerly winds may bring some gradual improvements today, with southwesterly winds continuing the slow clearing trend tomorrow,” the news release states.

Read the full air district release below:

Several fires continue to impact our region with smoke: Red Salmon Complex (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6891), August Complex (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6983), Slater Fire (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7173/), Elkhorn/Hopkins Fire (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7071/), and Oak Fire, as well as numerous other fires in Oregon. USFS Air Resource Advisors (ARAs) are assigned to LRA fires impacting our area, provide daily smoke outlook forecasts that advise these notifications within our jurisdiction. Continued fire growth and smoke production is expected to continue today on the Red Salmon Complex.

The ARA assigned to the fire indicates that smoke from the fire will combine with the Slater Fire and others, and poor air quality will continue today to persist in the regions close to the fire. Smoke from the Red Salmon Complex will combine with other fires in the area which could keep the levels in the Very Unhealthy and Hazardous AQI range, depending on proximity to the fires.

An Air Quality ALERT has been issued for Gasquet, Orleans, and Weitchpec, which are forecast to have Hazardous conditions from smoke impacts given their proximity to the fire. Air quality monitors for these communities can be viewed at https://fire.airnow.gov. Weather conditions and fire activity will continue to push smoke from southern fires (August Complex, Oak Fire, and Elkhorn/Hopkins) to impact the communities in Southern Humboldt and Trinity County.

The ARA on the fire indicates that fire continues actively burning, both along the perimeter and in large interior pockets. Fire activity is expected to remain high with critically dry fuels and no overnight moisture recovery tonight. Shading from dense smoke is moderating fire behavior somewhat. Slightly stronger southerly winds may bring some gradual improvements today, with southwesterly winds continuing the slow clearing trend tomorrow.

Humboldt County – Air Quality ADVISORY issued today for Eureka (including Rio Dell to Trinidad), Hoopa, Willow Creek, Garberville, and Redway areas; Air Quality ALERT was issued for Orleans, Weitchpec • Eureka (including Rio Dell to Trinidad) – Unhealthy conditions likely • Orleans – Mostly Hazardous conditions likely. • Weitchpec – Mostly Hazardous conditions likely. • Hoopa – Very Unhealthy conditions likely. • Willow Creek – Very Unhealthy conditions likely. • Garberville & Redway and nearby communities – Unhealthy with periods of Very Unhealthy conditions.

Del Norte County – Air Quality ADVISORY issued today for Crescent City, Klamath; Air Quality ALERT was issued today for Gasquet. • Crescent City – Unhealthy conditions likely. • Gasquet – Hazardous conditions due to proximity to fire. • Klamath – Unhealthy conditions expected

Trinity County - Air Quality ADVISORY issued today for Weaverville, Hayfork, and Ruth, Zenia-Kettenpom, Trinity Pines areas. • Weaverville and surrounding communities – Mostly Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy to Hazardous conditions in afternoon. • Hayfork – Mostly Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy to Hazardous conditions in afternoon. • Ruth, Zenia-Kettenpom, Trinity Pines - Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy conditions.

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

Updates will be provided as conditions change. 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. As with all wildfires, ash fallout is possible depending on fire activity and proximity to the fires.

Ash fallout information can be found in the Wildfire Smoke Resources section of our webpage at www.ncuaqmd.org. 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. F

ollow 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/covid-19/reduce_exposure_to_wildfire_smoke_covid-19.html. For further information, visit the District’s website at www.ncuaqmd.org or call the District’s Wildfire Response Coordinator at (707) 443-3093 x122.

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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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