UPDATE 4:45 p.m. — The Mendocino County Air Quality Management District (MCAQMD) has issued an advisory due to the decreasing air quality across the region, and air quality levels in Ukiah and other parts of eastern interior Mendocino County, as well as Lake County, reached unhealthy this afternoon.
According to the air district, while wind patterns may shift the intensity of smoke throughout the day and over the upcoming days, wildfire smoke is expected to continue to drift throughout the North Coast over the next several days due in part to a high pressure ridge over California. Coastal regions should remain relatively healthy in the “good” to moderate” levels, while inland levels may become unhealthy for sensitive groups and the general public. Smoke is anticipated to decrease somewhat on Sunday and Monday.
The following excerpt is from the air district’s announcement this afternoon. The original article, which includes information on how to check the air quality for your area, sign up for air quality alerts, and protect yourself from smoke, is included below.
August 6, 2021 4:00 p.m.: Due to the active fires in northern California and stagnant meteorological conditions, expect widespread haze and smoke for most of Mendocino County for the next few days. Currently most of the smoke from the surrounding wildfires remains elevated over the county. However, due to fluctuating wind directions and a high pressure ridge over California, the smoke aloft may fall to the surface bringing “Unhealthy” air to the area. Currently air monitors show particulate matter concentrations in the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” for most parts of the County and “Good” to “Moderate” for the coastal areas. For more detailed air quality and smoke information visit: https://fire.airnow.gov
Meteorological conditions are forecast to remain more of the same. Expect smoke impacts to continue in Mendocino County. Fire weather conditions with persistent high pressure may bring impacts of “Unhealthy” air and smoke accumulation to valley areas. There could be a slight break to the smoke impacts this Sunday and Monday. Air quality for coastal areas are expected to remain in the “Good” to “Moderate” level. While surrounding wildfires are active, expect unpredictable smoke impacts to air quality followed by multiple periods of some relief through the next few days.MCAQMD air quality advisory from August 6, 2021 at 4 p.m.
MENDOCINO Co., 8/6/21 — Drift smoke from major wildfires burning in other parts of Northern California has reached the North Coast over the last several days, leading to visible smoke and decreased air quality for portions of Mendocino County.
There are no active fires currently burning within the county, but a number of fires in northeastern portions of the state have grown rapidly, and brought a layer of wildfire smoke along with shifting winds. Current conditions can be found at the United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) AirNow.gov Fires and Smoke Map, which includes a variety of information about the location of fires, direction and intensity of drift smoke, and information from state and commercial air sensors.
So far, air quality conditions in Mendocino have not reached hazardous levels, but residents should be prepared for increased smoke over the coming days — and even small decreases in air quality can be difficult for people with respiratory issues or other health problems, a particular concern during the ongoing pandemic. Typically, the Mendocino Air Quality Management District tracks local conditions at mendoair.org, and will send out notifications when the county’s air censors reach hazardous conditions (sign up for air quality notifications here).
Portions of eastern Mendocino County and Lake County are currently experiencing some decreased air quality as of Friday morning, although the intensity and direction of drift smoke may shift with the growth of individual fires and as wind patterns shift over the course of the day. Based on the EPA’s maps, the fires currently sending smoke our way include the McFarland Fire in Trinity County, and the Monument Fire in Shasta County.
For those concerned about the health impacts of increased wildfire smoke, the CDC has tips about wildfire smoke and COVID-19, and about wildfire smoke in general. N95 masks are recommended, but may not filter out all particulates, and so it is best to avoid exposure to wildfire smoke when possible.
Here’s some additional resources to help you deal with the smoke from our Mendocino Voice guide to wildfire and emergency resources:
- Mendocino Voice article on how to build your own cheap air purifier
- Mendocino Voice 2018 article with tips about how to stay safe when the air quality is poor (note: N95 masks are not currently available for pick up)