Smoke levels reach ‘Hazardous’ levels in Klamath River Drainage areas

EUREKA – As wildfires surrounding our area continue to rage, smoke levels are rising and having health impacts.

With active fires in the Klamath and Six Rivers National Forests, and in Southern Oregon – smoke is making its way down the coast.

As of Tuesday, the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District reports air quality in the Klamath River drainage, near Orleans and Weitchpec, is at ‘Very Unhealthy’ and reaching ‘Hazardous’ levels.

This can be especially problematic for children, pregnant women, elderly and those who have lung or heart conditions, but can affect anyone.

If you notice symptoms such as excessive coughing, difficulty breathing, or unusual fatigue, you should contact your medical provider.

We spoke with Dr. Madeleine Ramos of Saint Joseph’s hospital, and she shared advice on how to protect yourself from these harms.

“People should be aware that dust masks are not enough for wildfire smoke. You would think that they would be, but the small particles can actually get trapped in the mask and then you’re breathing it in,” explained Dr. Ramos, “So try to stay indoors as much as possible and when you’re inside your house, keep the windows closed. If you are traveling by car, keep your windows closed and put your intake on recycle and don’t allow fresh air into the car. If you have done all the things we have discussed make sure you make an appointment to be evaluated.”

Dr. Ramos also recommends keeping your indoor air clean by avoiding burning candles or wood in your home, and also by investing in a HEPA filter.

For up-to-date air quality level information where you are, or plan on traveling to, you can check www.AirNow.gov