Here Are Some Tips to Prepare You for Wildfire Season

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

The North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District (NCUAQMD), the Humboldt, Trinity and Del Norte County Departments of Health and Human Services Public Health Branches, and regional Tribal health departments would like to help you prepare in the event of wildfires. If a wildfire breaks out in your area, please be aware of the following information.

Air Quality Alerts are the most serious issued by the NCUAQMD. Alerts indicate when the air in an area becomes Hazardous. If you live in or plan to travel in an area that may be affected by wildfire smoke, check for alerts by calling 1-866-BURN-DAY (1-866-287-6329). Air Quality Alerts and information about how smoke affects you and your family can also be found at www.ncuaqmd.org.

Air Quality Advisories are issued when an area is forecast to be impacted by a substantial smoke event and becomes Unhealthy. The impact of smoke in the area is not expected to reach the Hazardous level.

Public Service Announcements are issued to provide information about possible air quality affects from Wildfires. Public Service announcements are intended to provide general information about the smoke event. Sensitive populations may be affected by smoke at this level. The impact of smoke in the area is not expected to reach Unhealthy or Hazardous levels.

If you have health concerns, are elderly, pregnant, or have a child in your care, consider talking with your doctor now about what to do if the air becomes smoky.

Concentrations of smoke will vary depending upon location, weather, and distance to 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.

If you are in a wildfire prone area, consider buying an air purifier now to use in the event of smoky air. Some air cleaners can help reduce indoor pollutants if they are the right type and size for your home. Go to www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/residair.html for more information about air cleaners or air purifiers.

For more information call the NCUAQMD at (707) 443-3093, the Humboldt County Public Health Department at (707) 445-6200, the Trinity County Public Health Department at (530) 623-1265, or the Del Norte Public Health Department at (707) 464-3191.

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.orgProtecting Your Family From Wildfire Smoke (rev 5-17)

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One comment

  • Wow, I’m really glad that we have government “officials” to relay this very important and life-saving information to people… what I think this country really needs is a hotline that people can call 24/7, with an operator that will remind the people when to breathe, How deep the breathe should be Etc.

    Let me break it down Barney Style. If the smoke is bothering you, get out of the smoke. I think I should be rewarded like a million-dollar grant for that;<)

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