comments

Wildfires continue to rage, prompt air safety concerns

Residents urged to minimize outdoor activities through Friday
By: Bill Sullivan
-A +A

On Monday, smoke filled skies throughout the region continued to be a grim reminder of the onslaught of wildfires that continue to ravage areas throughout California.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (SMAQD), in consultation with Sacramento County Public Health Officer, Dr. Olivia Kasirye, has issued a Smoke-Related Health Statement, advising residents to take precautions and minimize outdoor activities through Friday, August 10, due to smoke being transported into the region from fires in throughout Northern California. 

“Smoke in the air from wildfires can aggravate pre-existing conditions for those with respiratory issues,” said Kasirye. “Older adults, people with chronic diseases and young children are most at risk and should avoid outside activities if they see or smell smoke.”

Even in communities far from their origin, the multiple  fires are taking their toll to those in our local areas, stretching crews thin, causing poor air quality and keeping those on edge with relatives who have relatives in harm’s way or the loss of loved ones in one of the region’s most devastating fire seasons.

“The mountains create a backstop and it allows pollution to impact foothills communities more,” said Thomas Hall of the Sacramento Air Quality District. “Folsom is typically one of the worst hit by both ozone and particulate pollution based on the pattern we’re currently seeing, but it really does vary based on where the fire is and where the smoke is coming in.”

If residents smell or see smoke, officials urge them to take the following actions:

•      Everyone should minimize outdoor activities if you can see or smell smoke, even if you’re healthy.  

•      Children, the elderly and people with respiratory or heart conditions should be particularly careful to avoid exposure when air quality is poor.  

•      Stay indoors with doors and windows closed as much as possible.

•      Asthmatics should follow their asthma management plan.  

•      Contact your doctor if you have symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms you believe to be caused by smoke. 

•      Those with heart disease should especially limit their exposure since particulate pollution from smoke can cause heart attacks.  

Area residents can check current conditions on sparetheair.com or by downloading the free Sacramento Region Air Quality app from the App Store.

According to today’s report from Cal Fire, nearly 14,000 firefighters are on the front lines of 16 large wildfires across California. To date, these fires have burned over 585,000 acres and damaged or destroyed over 2,000 structures. 10,000 homes continue to be threatened by these fires, and nearly 42,000 residents are under evacuation. The Mendocino Complex is now the 2nd largest fire and the Carr Fire is now the 12th largest fire in state history. 

Strong winds and low humidity will continue to increase fire risk across the state. In Northern California, winds will increase reaching 20 to 30 mph. Temperatures will increase through Thursday with single-digit humidity continuing to factor into weather concerns. In Southern California, strong westerly winds across the desert and in Santa Barbara County will continue today. A red flag warning is in place for portions of southwest California through Tuesday.  

With the extreme fire conditions, fire officials urge everyone to be prepared for a fire and don’t wait until it’s time to evacuate to make preparations to leave. Having a plan in place is the best practice.  As of Monday, August 6, here is a recap of the current fires burning throughout the state.

Carr Fire, Shasta County (more info…)

Whiskeytown & Redding

•  163,207 acres, 45% contained

•  Evacuations and road closures in place

•  21,000 residents evacuated, over 1,200 homes threatened

• 1,080 residences destroyed, 190 residences damaged

•  Carr is the 6th most destructive fire, 13th most deadly and is now 12thlargest fire in state history

•  Damage assessment is ongoing

•  CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 1 (Gouvea) in unified command with City of Redding FD (Kreider) USFS (Pechota)

Mendocino Complex, Mendocino/Lake County 

• 273,664 total acres, 30% contained

• 75 residences destroyed, 12 residences damaged

• 23,000 residents evacuated, over 9,000 structures threatened

• The Mendocino Complex fire is the 2nd largest wildfire in state history

• CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 2 (Kavanaugh) in unified command with NORCAL IMT-2 (Dalrymple)

River Fire (more info…)

Hopland

• 48,663 acres, 58% contained

• Evacuations and road closures in place

Ranch Fire (more info…)

Ukiah

• 225,001 acres, 21% contained

• Evacuations and road closures in place

Wagner Fire, Mariposa County (more info…)

East of Coulterville 

• 22 acres, 90% contained

Creek Fire, Alameda County **FINAL**

Southeast of Sunol

30 acres, 100% contained

Parrot Fire, Calaveras County NEW

South of Vallecito

• 136 acres, 60% contained

Whaleback Fire, Lassen County (more info…)

West of Spaulding (Eagle Lake)

• 18,703 acres, 95% contained

•  Unified command USFS NorCal Team 1 (Coots)

Ferguson Fire, Mariposa County (more info…

Yosemite National Park

• 91,502 acres, 38% contained

• Over 900 structures threatened

• Evacuations and road closures remain in effect

• CA Fed IMT-3 (von Tillow) in command

Eel Fire, Mendocino County (more info…

East of Covelo

• 972 acres, 60% contained

Cranston Fire, Riverside County (more info…)

Hemet

•  13,139 acres, 96% contained

•  All evacuations have been lifted

Donnell Fire, Tuolumne County (more info…)

Near Hwy 108, Donnell Lake area 

•  12,000 acres, 1% contained

 

Georges Fire, Inyo County (more info…)

Lone Pine

•  2,883 acres, 70% contained

 

Horse Creek Fire, Tulare County (more info…)

John Krebs Wilderness Area

•  34 acres, 90% contained

Valley Fire, San Bernardino County (more info…)

Yucaipa

•  1,350 acres, 30% contained

 

Natchez Fire, Del Norte County (more info…)

Southeast of Cave Junction, OR

•  9,849 acres, 35% contained

 

Eagle Fire, Modoc County (more info…)

South of Cedarville

•  2,100 acres, 95% contained

 

Owens Fire, Mono County (more info…)

North of Mammoth Lake

•  312 acres, 98% contained