WRO Staff / Wednesday, Sept. 30 @ 10:27 a.m.

SMOKE REPORT: The Air Will be Hazardous to Health in Hoopa and Willow Creek Today, Air Quality Management District Warns


Smoke from the Red Salmon complex. Photo via Inciweb.

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Today's bulletin from the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District:

Several fires continue to impact our region with smoke: Red Salmon Complex, August Complex, Slater/Devil Fire and Zogg Fire. USFS Air Resource Advisors (ARAs) are assigned to fires impacting our area and provide daily smoke outlook forecasts within our jurisdiction. No Air Quality ALERTs have been issued today. Air quality monitors and current AQI can be viewed at https://fire.airnow.gov.

The ARA on the Red Salmon fire advise winds will be light and terrain driven. Smoke will be similar to yesterday. Tomorrow should bring gradual improvements, starting along the coast and northern edge as winds become north to northwest. Improvements will be slow as winds will generally be light.

The ARA assigned to the August Complex forecasts light winds and strong inversion conditions over the fire will cause smoke to accumulate with worsening air quality. Communities in close proximity to the fire will see Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy conditions. Locations in the river drainages and deep valleys could see periods of Hazardous air quality - this is likely to occur in the Mad River, Ruth Lake, Van Duzen and Eel River areas. These conditions will continue through the weekend, with only slight improvement for coastal communities as transport winds shift generally out of the west tomorrow.

Wednesday will be a transition day for smoke transport as the winds shift and push smoke to the north. Winds will be light and smoke impacts will be higher in areas localized to the fires and northward. Another shift in winds to the North to Northwest is forecast for Thursday.

Humboldt County – An Air Quality ALERT is issued today for Hoopa and Willow Creek. An ADVISORY is issued today for Orleans, Weitchpec, Bridgeville, and Garberville.

  • Eureka (including Rio Dell to Trinidad within the coastal influence) – Overall Moderate conditions with periods of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.

  • Orleans – Unhealthy conditions.

  • Weitchpec – Unhealthy conditions.

  • Hoopa – Hazardous conditions.

  • Willow Creek – Hazardous conditions.

  • Bridgeville - Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy conditions.

  • Garberville & Redway – Unhealthy conditions.

Del Norte County – No Air Quality ADVISORY issued today.

  • Crescent City – Good to Moderate conditions.

  • Gasquet – Moderate with improvement in the afternoon.

  • Klamath – Moderate conditions expected.

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

  • Weaverville and surrounding communities – Generally Unhealthy with periods of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.

  • Hayfork – Generally Unhealthy with periods of Very Unhealthy conditions.

  • Trinity Center – Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups with periods of Unhealthy conditions.

  • Ruth, Zenia-Kettenpom – Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy conditions expected, depending on fire activity.

  • Trinity Pines – Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy conditions expected, depending on fire activity.

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) monitors are located in Crescent City, Gasquet, Eureka, Fortuna, 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.


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