MENDOCINO CO., 8/15/18 — An air quality advisory is in effect for inland portions of Mendocino, beginning Tuesday afternoon and lasting through Friday, from the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District (MCQAMD) due to the Mendocino Complex fires. The air quality is expected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups in most of eastern Mendocino County and all of Lake County due to smoke and haze. Air quality is predicted to improve somewhat in the afternoons after the daily inversion effect from the fires breaks up due to afternoon westerly winds — however, air quality may deteriorate overnight and during the mornings.
You can check the air quality for your immediate area at the MCQAMD website, by checking the sidebar on the righthand side of the website. You can also see our article about how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke. Free N-95 masks are also available at inland library locations, at senior centers, and from Public Health. Here's the full press release from the MCQAMD:
MENDOCINO COUNTYAugust 14, 2018 3:00 PM:
The smoke and haze from the local River and Ranch Fires as well as regional fires to our north are currently impacting selected areas of eastern Mendocino and all of Lake Counties. Currently air monitors show particulate matter concentrations in the “Moderate” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” range for most of the County. Inland communities and surrounding areas may experience episodes of “Unhealthy” air quality. These include Hopland, Ukiah, Calpella, Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Willits, and Covelo.
Based on forecast of building high pressure and strong overnight and morning
inversions, smoke impacts are expected to be held near the ground during these times.
Once the daily inversion breaks up, afternoon west northwesterly winds are expected to
disperse smoke impacts west of the fire. Please see the accompanying Public Health
Advisory for recommendations of personal protection for sensitive groups, as well as,
everyone during “Unhealthy”, or more severe, air quality conditions.
Mendocino County Air Quality Management District continuously monitors the air
quality, reporting particulate matter and ozone concentrations hourly to our website:
www.mendoair.org. In the sidebar on the right of our webpage (scroll down if using a
mobile device), under “Air Quality for Mendocino”--Click Here for current
conditions, forecast, and email alerts. For additional information, click on an air quality index range, or the colored tabs below the map.
For more air quality information visit:
To sign up for air quality notifications visit: http://www.enviroflash.info/signup.cfm
Mendocino County Health & Human Services Agency
Healthy People, Healthy Communities
Tammy Moss Chandler, Director
Anne Molgaard, Chief Operations Officer
Barbara Howe, Public Health Director
Gary Pace, M.D., Public Health Officer
When the Mendocino Air Quality Management District advises that the air quality is“unhealthy” or “hazardous:” A primary concern is that ‘high-risk groups” --people over 65, under 12, pregnant women, and those people with pre-existing lung disease (such as asthma, bronchitis, COPD) or heart problems-- are at particular risk from breathing this air and should take extra precautions. Leave the smoky area, if possible, or at least stay indoors and limit physical activity.
People with pre-existing illnesses should carefully adhere to their medical treatment plans and maintain at least a five-day supply of prescribed medications.
Clearly, everyone is a risk when the air quality is in the “unhealthy” or “hazardous” range. If it is not possible to leave the area where smoke is present, recommendations are to limit outdoor activity and unnecessary physical exertion.
Smoke from wildfires contains chemicals, gases, and fine particles that can harm health. The greatest hazard comes from breathing fine particles, which can reduce lung function, worsen asthma and other existing heart and lung conditions, and cause coughing,
wheezing and difficulty breathing.
Wearing a protective mask may offer some protection. N-95 masks can reduce contact with some of the harmful particulate matter, but they also increase the work of breathing and they don’t keep the smoke out, so they are not terribly effective as a general protective measure. It is much better to avoid the smoky air, if possible.
o N95 masks are very useful during the cleanup phase when the ash is a big issue.
o If you would like N95 masks, they can be obtained for free at the libraries, the
senior centers, and the shelters.
o If you have trouble locating masks and you would like them, contact us at Public
o Dust masks (different from N95) are not protective and really should not be used.
If you have air conditioning, turn it to interior recirculation or turn off and use fans. This prevents the intake of the outside, smoky air. Avoid vacuuming (which stirs up the dust) or increasing smoke in the house (for example burning candles or incense, or smoking cigarettes).
There are no indications that any permanent problems such as cancer will develop due to short term exposure to smoke such as this. Since the air problems currently are almost exclusively from woodsmoke, there are no real industrial contaminants that might lead to other long-term problems.
If you, or someone with you, begins to experience significant symptoms, such as dizziness,shortness of breath, or chest discomfort, get them out of the smoke and have them rest. If symptoms continue, seek medical attention.
Getting enough rest and drinking plenty of fluids may be helpful.