Some Humboldt County smoke impacts from Redwood Fire Complex

Eureka, Ca., (KIEM)- The skies over Humboldt County were not particularly clear Tuesday morning, as smoke from the Redwood Complex Fires rolled into the North Coast region.

The North Coast Air Quality Management District (NCAQMD) issued a public service announcement in the morning, marking the dangers posed by smoke as ‘moderate.’ That delineation is the best on the air quality scale, second only to a “good” distinction. As of right now, only those who are “unusually sensitive” to air quality should reduced prolonged activity or heavy exertion.

Program Coordinator at NCAQMD, Debra Harris said, “With the southerly winds that smoke is getting pushed in and is aloft. As everyone knows we’re having some communication issues that does affect the data collection and all the resources we use to make our determinations.”

The agency uses data from NOAA (on Woodley Island), Cal Fire, and various other collection sources to determine air quality. Communication problems have made forecasting and understanding conditions across the region all the more difficult. With web outages, Harris explained, NCAQMD set up a small monitor outside of their Eureka office. The monitor will only supplement other gathered data.

For now, the best idea is to exercise caution, be prepared, and use common sense Harris explains. If smoke is present at ground level, do not exercise outside. To reduce potential harm to your health, you can also keep doors and windows closed. Set air conditioning and intake units to “recirculate,” and make sure air filters or filtration systems are clean.

Even the Hospital has started taking precautions. This morning, St. Joseph’s Hospital sent out an internal memo. According to the Chief Executive Officer, David Sutherland, that memo called for all windows to be shut, filtration systems to be put into use, and doors to be kept closed as much as possible.

Harris says she’s hopeful that the breeze will move smoke out of the area soon, and that ‘moderate’ will be the only level reached on the air quality scale before breathing conditions return to normal.

For more information visit: http://www.ncuaqmd.org/index.php?page=air.quality