MENDOCINO Co., 8/18/21 — A Red Flag Warning for heightened fire danger due to hot, dry and windy conditions has been extended through Thursday evening for eastern Mendocino County as well as surrounding areas in Lake and Humboldt counties. Meanwhile, a number of small fires like the Georges Incident in Fort Bragg on Tuesday evening and the Timber Fire in Brooktrails have been a cause for concern, despite being quickly contained. The 50-acre Bell Fire, north of Laytonville, is 95 percent contained but still active — and major fires are burning to the North and East of Mendocino County.
Air quality in the area appears to be some of the worst so far in 2021, with unhealthy and very unhealthy levels of smoke particles known as Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) according to the Fire and Smoke Map at https://fire.airnow.gov/. A few sensors on the coast near Mendocino are showing Air Quality Indeq (AQI) ratings in the 20s, but even on the Lost Coast some there have been readings over 200 AQi. A measurement of 203 AQI was recorded at the Willits Unified School District offices, and one sensor in Ukiah shows a reading of 305 AQI, which is designated as hazardous air conditions.
The Mendocino County Air Quality Management District has issued an advisory, saying conditions are expected to impact sensitive groups. Area residents are advised to avoid exposure by staying indoors and wearing an N95 or KN95 mask if you have to go outside, especially for anyone with pulmonary health issues like asthma or other difficulties breathing.
That may be difficult, however, for anyone of the at least 1,100 Pacific Gas and Electric customers who have lost electrical service due to the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). Charging stations have been set up in Laytonville at Harwood Hall, Kieth’s Market in Covelo and in Ukiah on N. State Street. More information is available from PG&E at https://pgealerts.alerts.pge.com/updates/psps-events/.
Mendocino Voice publisher Kate Maxwell visited the N. State Street site late this morning and posted this video report from the scene: