Smoke Dispersion Conditions Expected to Improve Significantly with Arrival of Cooler Temperatures, South Winds Through Thursday

Photo of Junction City used with permission from Matthew Henderson [Click here to see more of Henderson’s Work]

This is a press release from the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District:

An air quality ADVISORY has been issued for today, but there are no longer any air quality ALERTs currently in effect. Smoke dispersion conditions will improve significantly with the arrival of cooler temperatures and South winds through Thursday. The arrival of this system will bring forecasted scattered to isolated thunderstorms mainly in Eastern Humboldt, Del Norte, and Trinity Counties. With the Southeasterly flow there is a possibility that some of this moisture may reach the coast.

In addition to smoke from inland fires, the smoke from the Chetco Bar Fire in southern Oregon will remain localized (affecting mainly Smith River) and move northward.

In Humboldt County: An Advisory has been issued for the communities in the Klamath  River Drainage (Orleans and Weitchpec, Hoopa, Willow Creek) as they are forecast to be  in the “Unhealthy” range with periods of “Very Unhealthy” conditions. Although  the Humboldt Bay Air Basin (from Trinidad, McKinleyville, Arcata, Blue Lake, Eureka, Fortuna, Ferndale, Rio Dell, to Scotia) saw higher smoke levels over the holiday weekend, the forecast beginning today is for continued improvement where levels should be primarily “Moderate” with periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” conditions. Garberville and areas in southern Humboldt continue to be forecast in the “Moderate” range.

In Del Norte County: An Advisory has been issued for Smith River as they are forecast to be “Unhealthy” with periods of “Very Unhealthy” conditions. Crescent City is forecast to be “Moderate” with periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”. For Klamath, the forecast is “Unhealthy” with periods of “Very Unhealthy” conditions and inland areas east of Crescent City (Gasquet) can expect “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” with periods of “Unhealthy” conditions.

In Trinity County: An Advisory has been issued for Weaverville and areas adjacent (Lewiston, Junction City, Big Bar, Del Loma) which are forecast to be in the “Unhealthy” to “Very Unhealthy” range with periods of “Hazardous” conditions, primarily due to the Helena and Fork Fires. Air quality for areas outside of the Weaverville area can expect smoke levels of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” with periods of “Unhealthy” depending on proximity to the wildfires.

Clean Air Shelters in Humboldt County:

  • Weitchpec Tribal Office, Highway 96, Weitchpec. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Hoopa Neighborhood Facility, Hoopa Tribal Office, Highway 96, Hoopa, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.,
  • M-F and this Holiday Weekend.

Clean Air Shelters in Trinity County:

  • Golden Age Center at 201 Browns Ranch Rd, Weaverville
  • American Red Cross Evacuation Shelter, First Baptist Church, 1261 Main St., Weaverville.

Clean Air Shelters in Del Norte County:

  • Family Resource Center, 494 Pacific Ave, Crescent City (closed 8 p.m. to 10 a.m.)
  • Tsunami Lanes Bowling Alley, 760 L Street, Crescent City
  • Xaa-wan’-k’wvt Village and Resort (formerly Ship Ashore), 12370 Hwy 101 N., Smith River (closed 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.)

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) monitors are presently in Smith River, Crescent City, Klamath, Gasquet, Orleans, Weitchpec, Hoopa, Willow Creek, Weaverville, Eureka, Scotia, and Garberville.

Subsequent Wildfire Smoke Public Service Announcements will be issued as conditions change. Fire information can be found at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ or at www.calfire.ca.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.

If you can see, taste, or feel smoke, contact your local health department and/or primary healthcare provider. This is especially important if you have health concerns, are elderly, are pregnant, or have a child in your care.

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.

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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