Smoke Impacts the Emerald Counties

Smoke map

Yellow areas have medium smoke impacts and green areas have light impacts. [Graphic from NOAA]

Press release from North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District (NCUAQMD) and partners:

Recent devastating fire activity to the south reminds everyone that Wildfire season is still in effect. Overnight, smoke from the Redwood Complex of fires in Ukiah and the numerous fires in Santa Rosa have primarily affected southern and coastal Humboldt County, with some minor impacts in southern Trinity County near Hayfork. The critical fire weather conditions have subsided as winds have shifted onshore and have become lighter. Smoke from these new southern fires will probably decrease after today, as a change in transport winds is anticipated this afternoon. The weather is forecast to change beginning tomorrow with northerly winds predicted, pushing any smoke to the south.

Presently, air quality in southern Humboldt is forecast to be “Moderate” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”, with periods of “Unhealthy”. Coast areas of Humboldt are expected to be “Moderate” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” until winds begin to shift this afternoon.

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) monitors are still presently in Eureka, Scotia, Blue Lake, Smith River, Crescent City, Klamath, Orleans, Weitchpec, Hoopa, Weaverville, and Hayfork. 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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24 comments

  • We have a red sun here in Willow Creek from the drift smoke

  • heavy smoke haze & red sun filter in loleta,

  • It was a relief to see many of the newscasters and citizens wearing masks as they went about their duties.
    It would be a huge relief if the HHS warned everyone what the smoke particles consist of.
    It’s the particles, aka TAR, in the smoke that will kill you.
    Imagine everyone rolling a doobie consisting of car tires, dashboards, off gassing plastics, fiberglass, fire retardants, every household cleaning agent known to man, lubricants, oil, gas, … and smoking them 24/7 in a room without windows.
    Oh, but be careful not to exert yourself while you self righteously attack that careless smoker on the next block.

    • I filter all the air I breathe through a crack pipe first, filters out all that nasty stuff.

    • Wouldnt it be great if our taxes paid for an emergency kit for everyone including respirator/gas mask.

      • Our taxes pay for billions of dollars worth of emergency services. Thousands of people are deployed in times of disaster, and millions of dollars worth of equipment. And you think respirators should also be included? Well, call your reps. I guess.

      • N95 masks should be in everyone’s kits, yes.
        The schools and HHS should be alerting all to the particles (tar) i& fumes n the smoke, yes.
        The taxes should pay for them? Oh hell no.
        If your community is too broke to hold a fundraiser for prep products, maybe it’s time to ask why.
        Those who prefer to pay $100.00 for a $5.00 product, got us into this poverty mess in the first place.
        It costs a fortune to create the departments needed for appropriations, accounts receivable, distribution accounts, warehouse storage, and the remainder of the unnecessary expenses such as committees to decide the particulars.

        There’s no excuse for ignoring the hazards of non-environmental friendly products that we can’t even dispose of in the public dumps, smoke and tar. No excuse at all.
        Oh, and by the way, due to budget cuts, the warehouses are empty and we don’t have enough supplies. Greedy citizens voted against the latest tax hike.
        Oh, but we’re hearing about the next tax hike, with ears wide open. OMG! If a coil gets overheated, carcinogens can be produced. Danger danger, MMJ can be hazardous to your health.
        Follow the money.

  • so much for every one’s “TOTALLY ORGANIC WEED ,MAN” With all the asphalt, tar and building material particles that peppered every ones weed. Not just ash but actual particulates,,,,, You thought all the testing was tough before. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

  • Why does the California Air Resources Board not put a stop to this? They should fine someone shouldn’t they?
    What a worthless agency.
    Try to burn a pile of brush in the middle of winter and they are all over you.

    • We’re talking wildfires here. Who do you plan to fine? God?

      • I think it was sarcasm.

      • Lundbar Hillbilly

        How about PG&E? Did their power lines not spark and start the Redwood fire? Common sense would tell you that big winds would happen sooner or later. Neglecting to keep the trees out of the power line routes caused that fire.

        • Or what if they had shut off all power at the first sign of trouble? Could some of the fires have been prevented? Was there no contingency for such an inevitable situation?

  • I was being facetious. CARB is useless.

  • Thankyou. You’re the only reporter reporting on the smoke locally.

    They could stop the fires if they wanted to. They aren’t using flame retardant; as they have previous years.

  • vaporized/atomized retardent is horrible for your lungs…new studies are finding that it is worse for your health than breathing fire smoke

    • In an Urban fire, houses are full of fire retardant products. Couches, carpets, paneling, some clothes, .. the firemen use to say “The fire doesn’t kill the people, the fumes do”.
      They hated, despised, the fireproofing companies were forced to do for safety reasons.

      As far as fire fighting retardants, I’ve heard that they use a safer, organic product.

      • Phos-Chek ingredients include “trade-secret compounds” which is code for toxic unresearched compounds. it does have an organic biodegradable red dye, but that’s it. most of these ingredients turn into nasty compounds when burned.

        • Thanks for the info, local ob.
          Even so, I would rather be scared of a few unknown chemicals from a fire retardant, than the known toxins that hundreds of melted wicrowave ovens, electronic systems, carpeting, cleaners, plastics, are being ignored by self appointed experts called HHS and anti-smoking groups.

          Did you see the news part where the principle of a school said that masks are available for those who quote unquote want them or who need them due to respiratory problems? The camera then swooped over to a group of masked kids being laughed at by the unmasked kids.
          Those masks should be mandatory. The laughing kids will one day think this too, as they’re undergoing chemo treatments from inhaling all the non-environmentally friendly toxins in the Urban fire.

  • Clear skys 8 south of Ukiah.

  • not too bad on the hill, not sure what the fuss is about

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