[UPDATE: Warning–Very Unhealthy Conditions in Klamath River Area] Heavy Smoke Continues to Impact Northwestern California

Smoke blowing from fires impacting the Emerald Counties. [Image from Modis on August 20.]

Smoke blowing from fires impacting the Emerald Counties. Smoke blowing from fires impacting the Emerald Counties. The numbers represent roughly where the following wildfires are burning. 1. Chetco Bar Fire. 2. Miller Complex 3. Eclipse Complex 4. Orleans Complex 5. the Salmon August Complex 6. the Ruth Complex  [Image from Modis on August 20.] 

Press release from the North Coast Air Quality Management District:

Heavy smoke impacts are expected again today due to several active fires in the area and transport of smoke from fires in Oregon. Light winds will keep smoke in place.

The main fires generating smoke in Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity Counties continue to be the Orleans Complex, Eclipse Complex, Salmon August Complex, and Ruth Complex. In Southern Oregon, the Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County continues to send considerable smoke down along the coast. Weather forecasts indicate the smoke dispersion will begin to improve Tuesday and Wednesday with on-shore winds.

In northern Humboldt, the Air Quality Advisory for Very Unhealthy levels is forecast for communities in the Klamath River drainage (Sawyers Bar, Orleans, Weitchpec, and Hoopa) Willow Creek is forecast to reach Unhealthy levels.

In southern Humboldt, the Ruth Complex fire continues to generate smokey conditions that will prevail through much of the day, and smoke levels in the Mad River drainage (Ruth Lake, Dinsmore, Mad River, and Forest Glen) are forecast to be in the Moderate range with periods of smoke drifting in from the fires to the north.

In Trinity County, monitoring and weather information forecasts indicate that smoke levels are expected to be to be primarily in the Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range for the Weaverville, Lewiston, and surrounding areas depending on proximity to the wildfires.

Coastal areas of Humboldt and Del Norte County is forecast to see patchy smoke and ash depending on weather conditions. The Particulate Matter (PM2.5) monitors in Crescent City continue to show Good air quality despite the sometimes dense smoke aloft. The Humboldt Bay Air Basin (Trinidad, McKinleyville, Arcata, Eureka, Fortuna, Scotia) continues to show Moderate air quality despite the sometimes dense smoke aloft. Smoke and ash aloft on the coast is mostly from the Chetco Bar fire in S Curry County in SW Oregon which is at multiple levels in the atmosphere.

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) monitors are presently in Eureka, Crescent City, Blue Lake, Rio Dell, Scotia, Weaverville, Willow Creek, Hoopa, Weitchpec, and Orleans.

Subsequent Wildfire Smoke Public Service Announcements will be issued should 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

UPDATE 1:05 p.m.: Press release from the North Coast Air Quality Management District:

Very Unhealthy conditions for communities in the Klamath River Drainage – Orleans, Sawyers Bar, Weitchpec, Hoopa and Willow Creek. Unhealthy conditions are forecast for Weaverville and surround areas.

Smoke levels in these areas are forecast to be in the Very Unhealthy range to Unhealthy throughout the day and evening, and are creating a health hazard. These conditions could be problematic for those with health conditions.

Air quality will be diminished as offshore winds remain light and continue to push smoke from the wildfires into the Klamath River drainage. A change to a South West wind direction is forecast to begin on Tuesday, and conditions should improve for areas south of the fires and along the coast. Updates will be provided as conditions change.



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