Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Smoky Conditions Improving in Most Areas

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2020 at 10:43 AM

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Things are clearing up for the coast but inland areas will continue to see unhealthy air quality due to smoke from wildfires burning across the region, although conditions are improving.

The North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District issued the following forecast for the Humboldt County region, with advisories issued for Orleans, Hoopa and Weitchpec:

• Eureka (including Rio Dell to Trinidad) – Good to Moderate with periods of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups possible depending on location.
• Orleans – Unhealthy conditions likely.
• Weitchpec – Unhealthy with periods of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.
• Hoopa – Unhealthy conditions likely.
• Willow Creek – Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups with periods of Unhealthy conditions.
• Garberville & Redway and nearby communities – Generally Moderate but with periods of Unhealthy of Sensitive Groups depending on conditions.

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/Devil 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. No Air Quality ALERTs have been issued today. Air quality monitors can be viewed at https://fire.airnow.gov.

The ARA on the Red Salmon fire indicates continued active fire growth with similar smoke impacts as yesterday. Smoke will combine with other fires in the area which could keep some areas in the Unhealthy range, depending on proximity to the fires.

The ARA report for the Slater/Devil Fire continued combined smoke from the Slater/Devil fires and active fires to the south. The majority of smoke impacts will be localized and to the north of the fire. The ARA on the August Complex West fire sees continued fire activity with smoke impacts remaining to the northeast and east of the fire (west of the I-5 corridor).

Coastal areas will see continued improvement with periods of smoke possible depending on conditions. Areas to the north and northwest of the fire will see improvement in air quality for the next few days depending on proximity. Projected showers in the forecast will bring improvement in the inland valleys.

Humboldt County – Air Quality ADVISORY issued today for Orleans, Hoopa and Weitchpec.
• Eureka (including Rio Dell to Trinidad) – Good to Moderate with periods of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups possible depending on location.
• Orleans – Unhealthy conditions likely.
• Weitchpec – Unhealthy with periods of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.
• Hoopa – Unhealthy conditions likely. • Willow Creek – Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups with periods of Unhealthy conditions.
• Garberville & Redway and nearby communities – Generally Moderate but with periods of Unhealthy of Sensitive Groups depending on conditions.

Del Norte County – No Air Quality ADVISORY issued today. • Crescent City – Good with periods of Moderate conditions. • Gasquet – Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups with periods of Unhealthy. • Klamath – Overall Good with periods of Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.

Trinity County - Air Quality ADVISORY issued today for Weaverville, Hayfork, Trinity Center, and Ruth, Zenia-Kettenpom, Trinity Pines areas. • Weaverville and surrounding communities – Mostly Unhealthy conditions with periods of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups possible. • Hayfork – Mostly Unhealthy conditions. • Trinity Center – Mostly Unhealthy with periods of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. • Ruth, Zenia-Kettenpom, Trinity Pines – Mostly Unhealthy conditions with periods of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups possible depending on 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.

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/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. NORTH COAST UNIFIED AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISTRICT 707 L Street, Eureka, CA 95501 (707) 443-3093 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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