MENDOCINO Co, CA, 8/16/22 – There’s smoke in the air in Mendocino County this week, according to a public service announcement from the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District on Monday night. Air monitors around the county show particulate matter concentrations with air quality ranging from “Good” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups,” forecasted to continue through Friday.
The current smoke impacts to Mendocino County are caused by the Six Rivers Lightning Complex fire and surrounding wildfires in Northern California, the air district reported. The Six Rivers fire began 10 days ago and had spanned 21,609 acres as of Tuesday morning; Cal Fire said the blaze was 19 percent contained at that time.
The air district forecasted that triple-digit heat inland with a decrease in humidity and shifting winds would mean “widespread haze and moderate smoke impacts” for most of the county this week. Conditions on the Mendocino coast are currently “Good” but residents may experience episodes of air quality that is “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” through the week; inland, the air quality should range from “Moderate” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.”
“Fire weather conditions with persistent high pressure may bring impacts of ‘Unhealthy’ air and smoke accumulation to valley areas,” the air district warned.
Conditions may improve over the weekend, according to the announcement, which also forecasted “unpredictable smoke impacts to air quality followed by multiple periods of some relief through the next few days.” Residents can find up-to-date, town-specific air quality readings using the Fire and Smoke Map from AirNow.
Mendocino’s air district advised that heavy concentrations of smoke can cause eye and throat irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing. When air quality conditions are “Unhealthy,” all residents should limit prolonged or heavy-exertion activities outdoors.
The air district also advised that facial coverings used to slow the spread of COVID-19 provide little protection against wildfire smoke, but that these general precautions can help:
- Minimize or stop outdoor activities, especially exercise.
- Stay indoors with windows and doors closed as much as possible.
- Do not run fans that bring smoky outdoor air inside – examples include swamp coolers, whole-house fans, and fresh air ventilation systems.
- Run your air-conditioner only if it does not bring smoke in from the outdoors. Change the standard air conditioner filter to a medium or high efficiency filter. If available, use the “recirculate” or “recycle” setting on the unit.
- Consider creating a clean air room at home using a purchased or DIY HEPA air purifier. More information is provided on the CDC’s air quality page and you can learn how to build your own in our tutorial from 2020.
- Do not smoke, fry food, or do other things that will create indoor air pollution.
- If you have lung disease (including asthma) or heart disease, closely monitor your health and contact your doctor if you have symptoms that worsen.
- Consider leaving the area until smoke conditions improve if you have repeated coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea, unusual fatigue, or lightheadedness. If your symptoms are persistent or severe, call a medical provider to determine whether to seek medical attention.
Mendocino County Air Quality Management District continuously monitors air quality in our area, reporting particulate matter and ozone concentrations hourly online and updating current conditions under “Air Quality for Mendocino.” For additional information, click on an air quality index range, or the colored tabs below the map.