WRO Staff / Friday, Sept. 11 @ 11:14 a.m.

Today's Air Quality is Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy Across the North Coast


Satellite image with fire spot overlay via zoom.earth.

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Public service announcement from the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District (NCUAQMD) and partners:

Several fires are impacting our region: Red Salmon Complex, August Complex, Slater Fire, Elkhorn/Hopkins Fire and the Oak Fire, as well as numerous other fires in Oregon. USFS Air Resource Advisors (ARAs) are assigned to LRA fires impacting our area, providing daily smoke outlook forecasts that advise these notifications within our jurisdiction.

Continued fire growth and smoke production is expected to continue today. The fires in Oregon remain active and smoke is making its way into California. Smoke from the Red Salmon Complex will combine with the Slater Fire and others, and heavily impact eastern Del Norte and northern Humboldt County. Communities that are closer to the fires may expect to see levels ranging into Very Unhealthy with potential periods into Hazardous, while coastal communities may see some improvement tomorrow.

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. Smoke impacts are expected to be Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy throughout much of the area. Light southeast winds are expected again today with little afternoon lifting. Smoke is likely to remain very dense throughout the day, with similar conditions continuing tomorrow.

Humboldt County – Air Quality ADVISORY issued today for Eureka (including Rio Dell to Trinidad), Orleans, Weitchpec, Hoopa, Willow Creek, Garberville, and Redway areas.

  • Eureka (including Rio Dell to Trinidad) – Unhealthy conditions expected with some improvement tomorrow.
  • Orleans – Very Unhealthy conditions likely.
  • Weitchpec – Very Unhealthy conditions likely.
  • Hoopa – Very Unhealthy conditions likely.
  • Willow Creek – Very Unhealthy conditions likely.
  • Garberville & Redway and nearby communities – Very Unhealthy conditions expected for most of the day.

Del Norte County – Air Quality ADVISORY was issued today for Crescent City, Gasquet, and Klamath.

  • Crescent City – Generally Unhealthy conditions expected.
  • Gasquet – Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy conditions likely.
  • Klamath – Generally Unhealthy conditions expected.

Trinity County - Air Quality ADVISORY issued today for Weaverville, Hayfork, and Ruth, Zenia-Kettenpom, Trinity Pines areas.

  • Weaverville and surrounding communities – Unhealthy conditions expected.
  • Hayfork – Unhealthy conditions expected.
  • 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.

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.


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